Andy Murray’s Indian Wells title hopes quickly evaporated in his opening match last night in the desert. The world No. 4 suffered a shock loss to Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who pounded the Scot 6-4, 6-2.
“I didn’t move my best tonight, but it didn’t feel like I was moving really badly,” said a stunned Murray afterward. “My return let me down, and he hardly missed the ball, either. That’s the thing. The level of tennis nowadays you get no easy first round matches and you play poor match, that’s what happens. So can’t allow it to happen. I don’t know exactly why because I was playing really, really good tennis the whole of the week and the buildup to it.”
Garcia-Lopez, who has beaten big names before like Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi, called the victory one of his best.
“It’s one of the biggest wins in my career,”said the 92nd-ranked Garcia-Lopez. “It gives me a lot of confidence, as my ranking right now is not too good, so I wanted to improve it. This victory gives me some confidence that I can do better this season.”
The loss was Murray’s third straight at Indian Wells all in straight sets. And it’s his second straight since beating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic a week ago in Dubai as he lost to another one-handed player, Roger Federer, last Sunday.
“It almost felt like playing the match on a clay court,” added Murray who was 0-7 on break chances. “I wasn’t able to hit through the court and I squandered so many chances.”
“I was feeling way more focused and confident, so I’m not sure exactly why that happened tonight.”
Murray is still entered in doubles with brother Jamie. His exit opens the door for brash American Ryan Harrison. The 19-year-old Harrison hammered Viktor Troicki and will now meet Garcia-Lopez on Monday.
Slumping former No. 1 Andy Roddick scraped through a tough three setter against Lukasz Kubot. Kubot served for the match in the second set but was unable to finish Roddick off, and the American took advantage to win 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.
“In the first two sets I couldn’t have hit a return into the ocean from the beach, much less on a tennis court,” said Roddick. “I started swinging out of my returns a little more. That was all the difference.
“It was just a matter of making him pay for not making first serves, and I did not do that at all early in the match and then I did it well. It was like a line in the sand. It went from terrible to good for whatever reason.”
Roddick now meets Tomas Berdych in Monday’s showcase match. “You’re not gonna want to leave the ball hanging or let him get set,” said Roddick who leads the Czech 6-3 in their head-to-head. “You kinda have to mix some things up so he doesn’t get a rhythm. Once he starts kinda going and feeling good, he hits the ball so clean you kinda have to take him out of that a little bit.”
Novak Djokovic opened his title defense with a scratchy 6-3, 6-2 win over Kazakh qualifier Andrey Golubev.
In women’s play, former No. 1s Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki were all easy winners.
Today, Roger Federer opens against young American Denis Kudla. In his first match since his epic Australian Open final loss to Djokovic, Rafael Nadal meets tough Argentine Leonardo Mayer. Juan Martin Del Potro, David Ferrer and Milos Raonic are also in action. Del Potro, who’s 16-4 on the season, duels Delray Beach finalist Marinko Matosevic. Ferrer faces Grigor Dimitrov.
Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska headline play for the women.
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) vs  J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
L Mayer (ARG) vs  R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 2:30 PM
 V Azarenka (BLR) vs  S Kuznetsova (RUS) – WTA
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs M Llodra (FRA) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[WC] D Kudla (USA) vs  R Federer (SUI) – ATP
Not Before 8:30 PM
 F Pennetta (ITA) vs  A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
 A Kerber (GER) vs V King (USA) – WTA
 F Lopez (ESP) vs M Baghdatis (CYP) – ATP
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs G Dimitrov (BUL) – ATP
Not Before 4:30 PM
 P Kvitova (CZE) vs  C Mchale (USA) – WTA
 M Raonic (CAN) vs C Berlocq (ARG) – ATP
[WC] J Hampton (USA) vs J Gajdosova (AUS) – WTA
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