Raise your hand if you hand Andy Murray losing to Donald Young? No one? I’d be surprised if anyone did. In an absolute head-scratcher, yesterday Murray was sent packing in his opening match by much-maligned qualifier Donald Young 7-6(4), 6-3.
“Most of it was not great today,” Murray said. “I didn’t serve particularly well. I didn’t move very well, which is normally something that, you know, early on in tournaments when you’re not hitting the ball well, you know, running a lot of balls down and making your opponent play can sometimes get the job done. But I didn’t move particularly well, and, you know, he hit a lot of winners. He gained in confidence I guess from hitting more winners.
“I started the match well, and then, you know, when it got close to the end of the first set,” Murray said. “I just didn’t — I didn’t do anything particularly well. I didn’t, you know, do anything to really make I guess lift myself. You know, kind of the crowd were, you know, for him. He started playing better. I didn’t find my way back into the match.”
For Murray it was his third straight loss, all of which have been in straight sets (seven straight sets lost). Clearly the Scot has not yet recovered from the Novak Djokovic loss at the Australian Open. But at least he’ll have a few weeks to prepare for Miami and freshen up on his video gaming once he loses in the doubles (he and brother Jamie play Querrey/Isner today).
Meanwhile Young picks up his best career win just a week after hitting with Pete Sampras. The ballyhooed junior star with the exceptional hands never found firm footing at the pro level, but maybe this is the breakthrough he needed, or it’s just a one-off thanks to Murray.
“I thought I played pretty consistent. I’m sure he didn’t play his best today,” said Young. “I got a little nervous, some double faults that didn’t make it halfway up the net. I’ve been in this position a couple of times with a few players and had not won the match. I just told myself this time I was going to see it through and not let the nerves get the best of me.”
Young also addressed his slow rise up the ranks. “Not great. It’s tough. But I think it’s getting better. It’s been patchy. I play well at times. Haven’t been able to do it consistently, but I’m happy to, you know, like you said, string together a couple wins in a row. It’s four in a row now because I quallied in. It’s been a tough couple of years and it’s behind me now, and hopefully moving forward.”
Murray’s loss blows a whole in what was otherwise a weak part of the draw. Young now plays Tommy Robredo to play either Fernando Verdasco or Sam Querrey, two players struggling in their own right.
Also yesterday, Ivo Karlovic upset David Ferrer in straight sets – the courts must be pretty fast and JW Tsonga fell at the feet of Xavier Malisse. Juan Martin Del Potro, Robin Soderling and Rafael Nadal were also winners are on very busy Saturday in the desert.
Today’s schedule is just as packed with Roger Federer v. Igor Andreev, James Blake v. Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic v. Andrey Golubev.
Some interesting outer court matches pit Mardy Fish v. Milos Raonic, Nikolay Davydenko v. Stan Wawrinka and Ryan Harrison v. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Among the picks, I still give a slight edge to Fish who has does well in the desert before, and a win by Harrison wouldn’t surprise. I think the big names – Federer, Roddick and Djokovic – should all get through comfortably and avoid any madness.
Andreev did push Federer to five sets on a fast US Open court a few years ago, but the Russian has virtually dropped off the map since. Blake is also well past his prime and I don’t think he can beat Roddick in what could be his farewell Indian Wells match.
Tennis Channel once again has full coverage and the ATP offers live streaming both at 2pm ET.
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
R Mello (BRA) vs  J Isner (USA) – ATP
 A Roddick (USA) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) – ATP
Not Before 2:30 PM
S Errani (ITA) vs  K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA
I Andreev (RUS) vs  R Federer (SUI) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
A Golubev (KAZ) vs  N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
Not Before 8:30 PM
 D Cibulkova (SVK) vs  V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA
STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
 F Schiavone (ITA) vs [Q] A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
N Davydenko (RUS) vs  S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP
[WC] R Harrison (USA) vs  G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 4:30 PM
 J Jankovic (SRB) vs  J Goerges (GER) – WTA
 M Fish (USA) vs [WC] M Raonic (CAN) – ATP
M Cilic (CRO) / I Karlovic (CRO) vs M Lopez (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
 R Gasquet (FRA) vs P Cuevas (URU) – ATP
 A Ivanovic (SRB) vs B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) – WTA
B Becker (GER) vs  T Bellucci (BRA) – ATP
J Benneteau (FRA) vs  J Melzer (AUT) – ATP
 A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs  S Peer (ISR) – WTA
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