Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro both are en route to London after being upset at the Paris Tennis Masters on Thursday. With no week of rest before the Finals, the last two Grand Slam champions left in the field likely opted to join Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in London instead of slugging it out in France any longer, much to the chagrin of tournament officials.
However, with Murray now in London for the weekend, certainly ATP officials must be pleased to have the Scot available for all the pre-tournament hype and publicity.
Murray’s London return appeared to be on hold as the Scot took the first set and then served for the match at 5-4 in the second against 6-foot-8 giant Jerzy Janowicz. The Pole, who had never beaten a Top 40 player until this week, saved a match point, scratched out a tiebreak then ran away with the third over a disinterested-looking Murray to collect the biggest win over his young career 5-7, 7-6, 6-2.
“I remember I didn’t believe I can win this match” Janowicz said. “I was just thinking to play my best tennis and not to lose 6‑Love, 6‑Love, 6‑Love.
“In the beginning of this year, I had many changes in my life,” Janowicz said. “I changed the racquet. This racquet which I’m using right now is helping me a lot. Even if I have some weak days, this racquet is actually helping me. So this is one change.
“The second one is, I [have] a new fitness coach this year, and he’s helping me a lot. I’m doing a lot of fitness. When I’m at home I’m actually doing more fitness than tennis. So there is this other change. My behavior on the court is also a little bit different. I decided not to give up, whatever the situation is. I’m fighting right now for every single ball.”
Murray, who still has never won the Paris Masters, has curiously blown match points in his last three losses – Milos Raonic in Tokyo, Novak Djokovic in Shanghai and now the Pole. But the Olympic champ knows things will need to improve for next week’s crucial test in London.
“I have to make sure I tighten that up next week if I get that opportunity in the matches,” Murray said. “It had nothing to do with my serving today. I missed groundstrokes.
“Obviously me and Novak lost early this week,” Murray said. “Roger didn’t play, and then I think the rest of the guys are still in here. You never know, maybe the guys that go deep here they’ll have confidence from having a good tournament. But they may arrive a little bit later and might take a while to get used to the conditions.”
Also heading to the exits was Del Potro who had his 11-match win streak snapped by Frenchman Michael Llodra. The lefty, who once beat Novak Djokovic in Paris, hadn’t won a tour match since Roland Garros until this return to the French capital.
“Coming here I knew I was playing well,” said the 32-year-old Llodra. “But now, thinking I would be able to beat Isner and Del Potro, I wasn’t sure. It’s true that the conditions are getting faster, so I served very well today. Del Potro is a good returner, but he couldn’t do anything because I served really well. When my favourite weapon works, then it’s difficult to play against me.”
Also, former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic were winners, and both qualified for the last two spots in London. Tsonga now faces the highest seed remaining, David Ferrer. The Spaniard is seeking his first career Masters title and with the top names out this may be his best chance. Tipsarevic gets Janowicz.
American Sam Querrey prevailed over Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic who finishes his year disappointingly losing four of his last six matches. Llodra is next for Sam. And Gilles Simon continues to take advantage of Roger Federer’s withdrawal. The smooth Frenchman is into the quarterfinals against 2005 champion Tomas Berdych.
FRIDAY PARIS SCHEDULE
COURT CENTRAL start 2:00 pm
G Simon (FRA) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
[Q] J Janowicz (POL) vs  J Tipsarevic (SRB)
Not Before 7:30 PM
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 8:30 PM
[WC] M Llodra (FRA) vs S Querrey (USA)
You Might Like:
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: “This Year I Want To Win A Grand Slam”
ATP Injuries Mount: Juan Martin Del Potro Withdraws From Paris
ATP Finals Field Set As Tsonga, Tipsarevic Take Final Two Spots
Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Paris Masters
Djokovic Fights Off Pesky Ferrer For Second Career Paris Title, Keeps No. 1 Hopes Alive