Olympic champion Andy Murray heads to the US Open on a losing note after falling to French lucky loser Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to exit in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters.
Murray came to the hard courts after his Games gold on the Wimbledon grass, winning a round last week in Toronto but then withdrawing before his next match due to knee pain.
He began in Cincinnati by beating American Sam Querrey but was unable to make an impression on the 38th-ranked Chardy, whom he had beaten in all four of their previous meetings.
The Scot drove a forehand wide to lose, making his 16th unforced error of the set. The loss was the 11th of his season against 40 victories, which have yielded titles in Brisbane and the Olympics.
“I won’t play any more matches,” Murray said as he heads into the start of the US Open a week from Monday. “Sometimes I’ve won tournaments in the build-up and it hasn’t helped me. So it doesn’t normally have that much bearing.
“But obviously I would have liked to have done a bit better this week.”
Federer routs Tomic
Top-seed Roger Federer made another smooth progression, hammering Australian teenager Bernard Tomic 6-2, 6-4. The four-time Cincinnati winner was pleased with a solid, winning workout.
“It was humid, but the rallies were never as long. He was also getting in a few more service winners than he was getting at the Australian Open (where Federer also beat him).
“It was more a first strike tennis, and I think I’m just a bit better at it still today. I was able to mix it up well and not have too many hiccups on my own serve. Then I was able to create some opportunities and take advantage of that and get the win.”
Sixth seed Juan Del Potro, who missed 2010 with a wrist injury, had troubles with the other wrist during his 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-1 win over Serb Viktor Troicki.
So bad was the pain that the Argentine at times abandoned his two-handed backhand to swing with just one hand.
There was a second quarterfinal in as many weeks for US 10th seed Mardy Fish, whose prospects are brightening on his favoured home-nation cement, as he heads into a clash with Federer having lost seven of their eight matches. Fish beat Czech Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3, firing seven aces among his 23 winners.
Women’s second seed Serena Williams fought off accumulated tiredness to put out Ursula Radwanska 6-4, 6-3.
“I was tired out there,” said Williams. “I just told myself to try and move my feet a bit, get through this match and go get some rest.
“My main goal is to do well at the US Open. I need to make sure I’m fit and healthy for that. I need match play on these courts, they are so much slower than Wimbledon,” she said referring to the grass surface.
Her unseeded sister Venus defeated French Open finalist Sara Errani 6-3, 6-0.
Top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat American Sloane Stephens 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 while third-seeded US Open holder Samantha Stosur was untroubled by Elena Makarova 6-1, 6-3.
Number four seed Petra Kvitova beat China’s Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-2, and German fifth seed Angelique Kerber defeated Andrea Hlavackova 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Keywords: Cincinnati Masters