Sunday, March 11, 2012

Murray drops opening match at Indian Wells again

   Indian Wells has not been kind to Andy Murray.
   Sure, the Scottish star reached the final of the 2009 BNP Paribas Open, but Rafael Nadal trounced him 6-1, 6-2 in gale-force winds.
   Murray, who gained the quarterfinals in 2010, lost his opening match in the tournament for the second consecutive year Saturday night. Ranked and seeded fourth, he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 6-2 in the second round after receiving a first-round bye.
  "I didn't move my best tonight, but it didn't feel like I was moving really badly," said Murray, who beat Novak Djokovic last week in the Dubai semifinals before falling to Roger Federer. "My return let me down, and he hardly missed the ball.
   "That's the thing. The level of tennis nowadays, you get no easy first-round matches. You play a poor match, that's what happens. So I 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."
   Murray, who won the SAP Open in San Jose as a teenager in 2006 and 2007, lost to Donald Young in the second round at Indian Wells last year after getting a bye in the opening round.
   Garcia-Lopez, 28, recorded his eighth victory over a top-10 player. But he has slumped from a career-high No. 23 in February last year to No. 92.
   "It's one of the biggest wins in my career," Garcia-Lopez, who lost in the first round at Delray Beach, Fla., last week, told BNPParibasOpen.com. "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."
   Garcia-Lopez will meet 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison, who upset 25th-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia 7-6 (5), 6-2, in the third round. Harrison broke through last year at Indian Wells, beating Garcia-Lopez en route to a fourth-round loss to Federer.
   Eighth-seeded Mardy Fish, who's scheduled to play two home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in July, beat Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 3-2 (retired) to reach the third round. Fish, a 30-year-old Los Angeles resident, will play qualifier Matthew Ebden of Australia. Ebden surprised 32nd-seeded Julien Benneteau of France 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   Wild card Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, lost to 12th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
   Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, former NCAA doubles champions from Stanford, beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa and Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the first round.
   The 33-year-old Bryan twins, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, are playing in the tournament for the 14th consecutive year. Arguably the greatest doubles team ever, they have reached the Indian Wells final twice (2003 and 2006) but never won the title.
   Motel update -- The Not-So-Super 8 in Indio, adjacent to Indian Wells, struck again. Three times. Not a bad morning's work.
   Because I went to bed at 4 a.m. Saturday after staying up to write, I asked for a 10 a.m. wake-up call so I could check out by the 11 a.m. deadline. At 8:45 a.m., the maid rolled her cart on the rocky second-floor aisle outside my room, making a racket (excuse the pun). Just in case that wasn't enough to wake me up, which it was, she banged on the door to clean the room. Thanks a lot.
   I think I caught a few winks after that before getting up at 10 a.m. I needed to make two trips to load my luggage in my car and tried to get back in the room at 10:58 p.m., but the key card no longer worked. So I got another one at the front desk, which naturally didn't work. The clerk gave me yet another, which mercifully did.
   When I finally left, never to return, it was one of the highlights of my life.

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