Miami | Murray suffers surprise defeat

British tennis had a bad day at the office on Wednesday as Andy Murray, following a promising start to the season, crashed out to Dusan Lajovic in the opening round of the Miami Open, the second Masters of the year which, with last fortnight’s Indian Wells event, makes up the ‘Sunshine Double.’

I didn’t really feel like I moved particularly well, which is really important for me, something I’ve been doing very well actually in most of the matches this year. So that was probably the thing. Andy Murray

The two-time former Miami champion fell 6-4 7-5 to the Serbian world No.76 after what looked like a relaxed start which saw him open the match comfortably and then force Lajovic to defend a break point when leading 2-1.

He also failed to break his 32-year-old opponent two games later and no doubt now frustrated at his inability to make that breakthrough, found himself down at 4-3 dropping his serve to love as Lajovic took control of the set.

Murray was unable to come back as the Lajovic serve held firm from that point on to pocket the opener.

It looked very much like Murray was going to have to reprise his Marathon Man mantle if he was to get through to round two and he got off to a perfect start in the second, holding serve comfortably.

With the pair serving well the set cruised towards a possible tie-break only for Murray to falter at a crucial stage to give Lajovic a vital 5-4 lead and the opportunity to serve out for what would be a major victory for the Serbian.

Murray however, fought back to get back on serve only to be broken again when Lajovic served for the match the second time around after 96-minutes.

“When I didn’t close it out I thought it’s happening again,” Lajovic said as Murray’s reputation of slogging it out in marathon matches this season flooded into his mind.

Dusan Lajovic avoided getting embroiled in one of Murray's marathons.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“Honestly that last game I was super tight at 40-0 and he was able to put pressure on me. Luckily, he shanked the last forehand, which he normally doesn’t do.”

Murray himself acknowledged that his movement had been a major contributing factor in his loss.

“I served pretty well, but the rest of the game was a bit of a problem today. Didn’t really return that well, made a number of errors that obviously I wouldn’t expect to be making,” he said.

“I didn’t really feel like I moved particularly well, which is really important for me, something I’ve been doing very well actually in most of the matches this year. So that was probably the thing.

“Some days you obviously don’t hit the ball your best, but my movement wasn’t great today.

“I’ve been practising pretty well. It’s a very different court, very bouncy and much faster than last week (in Indian Wells), very different to the practice courts and…I just struggled a bit,” the 35-year-old three-time grand slam champion admitted.

Murray was joined by Kyle Edmund who also exited the event in straight sets, losing to China’s Wu Yibing 7-5 7-5.

Edmund battled back from 5-2 down in the first set only to be broken at 5-6, and then – remarkably – the same scenario was repeated in the second with the Brit recovering from 5-2 down to 5-6, only to be broken after 94-minutes for a second and crucial time.

Later on in the evening there was another shock as the 21-year-old American wildcard, ranked 182, ousted another former Miami campion, John Isner.

Surprisingly, Isner who relishes playing and winning tie-breaks, failed on this occasion as Emilio Nava inflicted a very satisfying 7-6(5) 7-6(4) win over his compatriot who goes on to play the current American No.1 Taylor Fritz in round two.

Emilio Nava scored the best win of his young career

Gary Payne/Getty Images

Isner, the 2018 champion, couldn’t handle the youngster off the ground as Nava worked his backhand in the breakers to dictate play which paid off for his best career win.

In other action, another American Brandon Nakashima delighted the home crowd with his big-hitting approach delivering a 7-6(3) 6-3 win over German Oscar Otte.

Italian Fabio Fognini crashed out to Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 7-5 6-4 hurling his racket in disgust.

Fan favourite Gael Monfils of France, the Great Entertainer, resumed his comeback from a foot injury only for a wrist problem to force him out early in his match against Ugo Humbert when 3-3.

The fast-rising American JJ Wolf recovered from an early break to defeat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-3 while Alexei Popyrin, Emil Ruusuvuori, Marton Fucsovics, and Ilya Ivashka all advanced.



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