Andy Murray’s 2011 misery run deepened on Saturday as the slumping Scot was ambushed 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters by American outsider Donald Young.
But it was exactly the opposite for top-seed Rafael Nadal, who easily dispatched Rik de Voest 6-0, 6-2 and then puzzled over the outcome.
“My opponent played a little bit more nervous than usual,” said the Spaniard. “I didn’t have to play my best tennis. I really can’t say if I played really good or not. I did what I had to win.”
Murray appeared lethargic throughout his 94-minute embarrassment against Young, his eight aces counting for nought against an opponent ranked 138 places lower who won the match of his so-far fruitless career.
Young has been tipped for half a decade as a future star after being discovered by John McEnroe. But his stock has been steadily sinking with little signs of life until his uprising against Murray.
The Scottish seed is now at a loose end, with more than 10 days before any start at the Miami Masters.
“Most of my game was not great today,” admitted Murray. “I didn’t serve particularly well,” added Murray. “I didn’t move very well. Making your opponent play can sometimes get the job done.
But he hit a lot of winners and gained in confidence I guess. “You try to find the way to get through it, and I didn’t do that today. That is normally the most important thing; you try and get through any way you can.”
Verdasco, del Potro advance
Croatian Ivo Karlovic struck an upset blow over sixth seed David Ferrer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 as the Spaniard arrived drained after last weekend’s Davis Cup. Spanish ninth seed Fernando Verdasco advanced as Lithuanian Richard Berankis retired trailing 7-5, 2-0 with a back problem.
Resurgent former number four Juan del Potro of Argentina put holder Ivan Ljubicic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in a comeback. Belgian Xavier Malisse upset Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
Women’s top-seed Caroline Wozniacki booked easy passage over American Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 while French Open finalist Samantha Stosur, the number four, beating Laura Pous-Tio of Spain 6-2, 6-2.
In a match which could have caught the potential interest of 1.2 billion Chinese, Peng Shuai knocked out Australian Open finalist countrywoman Li Na, seeded seventh, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-4 and ninth seeded Agnieszka Radwanska stopped Czech Iveta Benesova 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Dinara Safina cast off the disappointment of months of injury and poor form as she won her first back-to-back matches since September. The one-time world number one Russian boosted her fragile confidence with a victory over Daniela Hantuchova 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 at the Tennis Garden.
Keywords: Indian Wells Masters