Andy Murray’s Valencia title defense ended early on Wednesday. The Scot flamed out to Juan Monaco 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the Valencia second round.
“Juan plays very well,” Murray explained. “I know he has been injured for a while, but today he proved how much of a good player he is. He played a very good. constant game. He normally makes no mistake, and it is easy to lose against him if you are not doing your best game.”
The 23-year-old Murray’s up-and-down season continued with the loss. Murray had just won Shanghai a few weeks ago and now he suffers his earliest exit at a tournament since April. He’ll have Paris next week, then a week off before the all-important London event.
Fernando Verdasco also fell in Valencia, losing to Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-3. I said last week that Verdasco has played a lot of tennis in 2010 and this fall it’s really showing. The Spaniard, who desperately needs to put up a big result next week in Paris to have any chance for London, has just one match win since the US Open. I think the guy needs to ease back on the schedule next year.
Moving to Basel, Andy Roddick picked up an excellent win over Sam Querrey 7-5, 7-6(6).
“I thought it was a really good match both ways, I thought it was good tennis, good points,” said Roddick who had suffered a thigh injury in Shanghai. “I had to work; the second set tie-break was very hard. It was a very high level in terms of both guys getting a lot of first serves in; the unforced errors were pretty low. So I’m very pleased with how I played and the outcome.”
Roddick now faces another dangerous test Thursday in Andrei Golubev.
Roger Federer was also a winner thrashing Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-4 to move into the Friday quarterfinals. The Swiss favorite is joined in the last eight by the intriguing and oft-injured Robin Haase who upset John Isner in three sets. I love Haase’s game, I just wish he could stay healthy.
Like Verdasco, Tomas Berdych also stumbled today losing meekly to lucky loser Tobias Kampke 6-4, 6-1. Since his runner-up at Wimbledon, Berdych has no tournament SFs in nine events and he’s a dreadful 0-6 against Top 35 players. The Czech will have his chance in London to get back in the win column, but his newfound confidence he had in the spring and early summer has to be shot.
How quickly things change in tennis.
THURSDAY BASEL SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
D Nalbandian (ARG) vs  M Cilic (CRO)
Not Before 4:00 PM
R Gasquet (FRA) vs [LL] T Kamke (GER)
Not Before 6:00 PM
 A Roddick (USA) vs A Golubev (KAZ)
Not Before 8:00 PM
[Q] J Nieminen (FIN) vs  N Djokovic (SRB)
 B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA)
VALENCIA THURSDAY SCHEDULE
AGORA start 1:00 pm
J Chela (ARG) vs  N Davydenko (RUS)
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs  R Soderling (SWE)
[Q] T Gabashvili (RUS) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 PM
 G Monfils (FRA) vs S Wawrinka (SUI)
 L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) vs W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL)
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