Major upsest in Monte Carlo
It wasn’t a good day for the top seeds, especially Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who both made unexpected exits in the third round of this year’s Monte Carlo Masters.
For me personally - it's not going to seem it to everyone watching - but it's progress from where I was 10 days, a couple of weeks ago Andy Murray
Murray, the top seed as world number one, was 4-0 up in the deciding set against Albert Ramos-Vinolas when the heels fell off his wagon as the Spaniard turned the match around to inflict a 2-6 6-2 7-5 defeat on the British No1.
It was his second match since a five week lay-off to rest an injured elbow and while his serving was erratic in the first round, it was showing improvement but not sufficiently to keep the Spaniard at bay.
The 29-year-old commented after his loss: "For me personally – it’s not going to seem it to everyone watching – but it’s progress from where I was 10 days, a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to need to put some work in, there are some things I need to improve upon. But it wasn’t too bad."
Murray, despite his serving problems, appeared unconcerned. "If youÈre serving for two weeks 30, 40, 50 kilometres an hour slower than what you’re used to, you’re going to serve slightly differently and then when you start serving fast again it just takes a bit of time to get into a rhythm," he explained.
"I felt like – even though I didn’t hold serve that much today – that I served better than I did in my last match. Second serve had a little bit more speed on it, less double faults, a few more aces.
"That’s something that I think will keep getting better. I was really happy with how my elbow felt this week. It got better each day. I’m going to need to obviously improve my serving over the next few weeks."
Also on the way home is the former champion Stan Wawrinka, seeded three, who surprisingly couldn’t find an answer to the play of Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, going down 6-4 6-4.
On the plus side, Novak Djokovic just managed to scrape through to the quarter finals. Like Murray he was playing his second match since coming back from a five week injury lay-off to his elbow.
He also showed that he was rusty and came close to being shown the door by Pablo Carrena-Busta before edging ahead from 4-all in the decider to go through 6-2 4-6 6-4.
Djokovic will now face Belgian David Goffin, who beat Dominic Thiem in three sets, for a spot in the semi-finals.
Djokovic joined Rafael Nadal in the last eight in Monte Carlo after the 30-year-old nine-time French Open winner demolished highly-rated German Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-1 and will now face Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the next round.
There were wins too for fifth seed Marin Cilic, who knocked out Tomas Berdych in straight sets, while number 11 seed Lucas Pouille secured his passage through to the quarter-finals after his French compatriot Adrian Mannarino retired in the first set.