Somewhere Roger Federer is smiling from ear to ear. I say that upon Roger either hearing of or watching Andy Murray’s latest debacle, an embarrassing 6-2, 6-1 loss today to Philip Kolhscreiber in the second round at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Kohlschrieber is an adept clay baller, but he’s not a 6-2, 6-1 kind of guy against Murray. But then again things have sure changed for Andy. Just over two months ago he was hotter than a Rolex in Times Square entering the final Australian Open final against Federer. But since the Swiss sent him back to Great Britain still Slam-less, Murray has floundered on the tour showing nary any signs of life.
And today’s loss was his third straight defeat, all in straight sets and all in big events – Indian Wells, Miami and now Monte Carlo.
“The last few tournaments have been bad,” Murray said following what was arguably the worst loss of his career. “It’s been a long time since I lost a couple of matches like this. I have to make sure that I don’t panic.
“It was the first time in a few years that the court felt so small. I just could not find the court. When it’s like that, it’s difficult to play.”
At the open of the match the ATP commentary team remarked how Murray getting back with former girlfriend Kim Sears would help the Scot get back track. Well, that didn’t work. And in fact Sears wasn’t around in Australia proving that Murray can play well without her. So it’s not her, it’s not the video games, it’s not the opponents playing well.
I’ll say again, clearly Murray hasn’t recovered from that crushing loss to Federer, and Roger has to feel pleased about it. Just like Federer caused so much misery to the other Andy, Andy Roddick, through the years, he’s now trying to do it again by single-handedly wrecking the mind and the career of Murray, and so far he’s succeeding.
Luckily Murray still has a few months to get it right and end the boos before the all-important pressure-packed grass swing kicks offs. Until then looks like we’ll need to lower of expectations of Andy.
Also today, doubts about Rafael Nadal’s health were put on hold for an hour or so because that’s all the time Rafa needed to destroy Thiemo De Bakker 6-1, 6-0. Nadal, who I originally thought had a testy draw with possibly Eduardo Schwank The Tank and then Juan Monaco, now gets his second breeze against Michael Berrer tomorrow.
Still, a strong, confident start for Nadal.
“I expected it to be a bit tougher, harder match,” said Nadal who chalked up his 28th straight win in Monte Carlo. “But I think I played well. I played very a solid match, no mistakes, [I had] good movement. I think I played really well.”
Fresh off his split with Todd Martin, Novak Djokovic got a nice win over Florent Serra 6-2, 6-3. In a big statement match tomorrow, he’ll face the in-form Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I have to be happy with the game because it’s the first clay court match – not including Davis Cup – since Roland Garros last year,” said Djokovic. “Some things can be better, like [my] serve and maybe [my] movements but [I'm still adjusting to the surface and conditions.
David Nalbandian, Ivan Ljubicic, Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer were also winners.
In addition to Nadal and Djokovic's tussles tomorrow, key matches include Tomas Berdych v. Fernando Verdasco, JW Tsonga v. Ferrero and Ferrer v. Ljubicic. For me, I’ll be most interested to see how Novak gets on against Stan. That should be the best match of the day.
ORDER OF PLAY - THURSDAY, 15 APRIL, 2010
COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
 T Berdych (CZE) vs  F Verdasco (ESP)
M Berrer (GER) vs  R Nadal (ESP)
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs  J Ferrero (ESP)
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  S Wawrinka (SUI)
[WC] R Gasquet (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) vs  M Knowles (BAH) / B Soares (BRA)
COURT DES PRINCES start 10:30 am
 M Cilic (CRO) vs A Montanes (ESP)
 I Ljubicic (CRO) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
 T Robredo (ESP) vs D Nalbandian (ARG)
P Petzschner (GER) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER)
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs J Melzer (AUT) / M Youzhny (RUS)
COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
 S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) vs E Butorac (USA) / M Kohlmann (GER)
[WC] R Hutchins (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) vs  B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)
N Almagro (ESP) / I Ljubicic (CRO) vs  L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) – After Suitable Rest
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