Front page‎ > ‎Sports‎ > ‎

Andy Murray wins as Roger Federer loses at Indian Wells

Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open as world number one Roger Federer made a shock exit at the hands of Marcos Baghdatis. Murray was given a thorough test by American Michael Russell but two early breaks in both sets set the Scot up for a 6-3 7-5 win in blustery conditions.

Fourth seed Murray next faces Spain's world number 40 Nicolas Almagro, who beat American James Blake 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Federer wasted three match points to lose 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-4) to Baghdatis.

Murray made the best possible start at Indian Wells with three break points in the opening game, and he converted the first thanks to a successful challenge of a Russell backhand which was initially called in. The British number one followed that up by sending down three aces in his opening service game. Russell then had to save two break points but there was nothing he could do in the ninth game as Murray broke again to seal the set.

The American was in trouble again in the second game of the second set as Murray broke to lead 2-0, with the Scot then going 3-0 up, saving a break point en route. The American held serve in the next game and, although Murray then went 4-1 ahead, the rhythm of his own service was giving him problems.

Russell made it 4-2, but Murray moved within sight of victory by holding serve for the eighth time. Russell then secured his first break as Murray was attempting to close out the match to bring the second set back on serve. But Murray earned two match points in Russell's next service game and needed only one of them to earn a straight-sets win in one hour 52 minutes.

"Michael's very quick, has a great attitude and made it difficult for me. I started well and was up in the second but he started to make me move whereas earlier I was dictating. The points were getting longer and longer," said Murray. "The thing that was good about that match is a lot of long, tough games. "My serve, when I was down, I played well. I saved a lot of break points and played well on a lot of 30-all points," he added.

Cypriot Baghdatis's shock defeat of Federer was his first victory over the 16-time Grand Slam champion in seven attempts. "Seven is my lucky number," Baghdatis said after battling to victory in two hours and 22 minutes.

After grinding out a 7-5 first-set win, Federer's first two chances to clinch victory came when he led 15-40 on Baghdatis's serve at 5-4 in the second. However, the top seed first fired a forehand and then a backhand long as Baghdatis went on to hold serve and even the set. More profligacy in the next game then cost Federer dear - the Wimbledon champion sent a forehand long to gift Baghdatis break point.

Baghdatis, currently ranked 33rd in the world, took his chance before holding serve to level the match. Federer raced into a 3-1 lead in the third set but 27th seed Baghdatis broke back in the seventh game, setting up the break with a blistering cross-court winner before Federer netted a forehand.

Leading 6-5, Wimbledon champion Federer threw away another opportunity to close out the match - netting a backhand as Baghdatis held on again before sealing his passage with an ace in a 7-4 tie-break win. The last time Federer surrendered a match after holding at least one match point was in the 2006 Rome Masters final, against world number three Rafael Nadal.

"It was one of those matches where you play well most of the time, and don't play well when you really have to," said Federer, who was playing his first tournament since his Australian Open triumph. "It's just a question of not letting that happen too often. I could be sitting here an hour earlier and saying how comfortably I won the match in straight sets not playing great, but moving forward," he added.

"It's always a very fine line. That's not why I don't like to now beat myself up too much after a loss like this." Baghdatis, meanwhile, was delighted with his efforts. "I did everything well, because Roger had a great percentage of first serves. One moment he was playing only with first serves, so it was really tough to return. But I kept calm.

"I said to myself that the chance would come, and when it comes, I'll take it. That's what I did," said Baghdatis, who next plays Spain'sTommy Robredo - a 6-3, 6-0 winner over Dudi Sela. Elsewhere, sixth seed Robin Soderling saw off Feliciano Lopez in two tough sets, eventually winning 7-6 (7-3) 6-4. Lopez, seeded 28th, stayed with his opponent despite not earning a break point in the entire match. 

Andy Roddick, seeded seventh, used a break of serve in each set to beat Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands 6-3 6-4. Roddick next faces Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who was awarded a walkover when Germany's Simon Greul withdrew through illness. Ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, also advanced after beating 24th seed Albert Montanes 4-6 6-3 6-3.




Contributed by: Our Special Correspondent
City: Oxford
Country: UK
Date: March 19, 2010
SJ315201005

Comments