Djokovic crashes out as Murray eases through
PARIS (AFP) –
Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Paris Masters in his first match, losing 0-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to American journeyman Sam Querrey on Wednesday.
Third seed Andy Murray took full advantage of the situation at the last event of the ATP regular season before next week’s World Tour Finals, beating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round.
The Scot was joined by Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who defeated compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-3 and Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro, winner of his last two indoor events, who put out Alejandro Falla 6-2, 6-2.
Three men stayed in the race for the two remaining spots at next week’s season-ending event.
Serb Janko Tipsarevic overcame Igor Sijsling 6-4, 7-6 (7/0), Argentine Juan Monaco beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 And Spain’s Nicolas Almagro defeated countryman Albert Ramos 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3.
French 12th seed Richard Gasquet lost his chance to qualify for the year-end event as he went down to Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-1
Murray needed just over 90 minutes, winning with a dozen aces and 24 winners while breaking Mathieu four times.
“I served well thought I didn’t start the match returning particularly well,” said Murray.
“I was struggling a bit with the timing.
“I found the court pretty quick in comparison to how it was, how it was playing four or five days ago. I struggled a bit with that.
“I’m not as fresh as I was at the start of the year, but, I feel OK, better at this stage than I did at the same tournament last year, so that’s obviously a positive.”
Djokovic, who is assured of finishing as the top of the ATP world rankings at the end of the season, has not lost a match at such an early stage of a competition since Miami in March 2010.
Djokovic, who regardless of this defeat takes over the world number one spot from Federer on Monday, strode onto the court wearing a Darth Vader mask but found himself the victim of a Halloween horror show.
Querrey fired 18 aces in a battle lasting just over two hours, with the American winning his first career match against a top three player after nine defeats.
Djokovic had spoken this week about the repercussions the lack of a rest week prior to the season-ending tournament in London could have, though barely imagining that he could be the week’s first major victim.
“I knew the main problems would be my energy, it wasn’t there during the second set. I really felt my level drop,” said Djokovic after the defeat.
“I struggled every game, but on the brighter side I have time to rest. I’ve been through a really difficult period this last few weeks. There have been a lot of things on my mind, some things happened…
“I have a couple of days now to rest. I’ve had to face some things a bit unusual for me, but when you lose a match you move on and go to the last tournament of the year.”
Djokovic did not comment on reports that his father has been in hospital in Serbia with a respiratory problem.
His shock loss was the 23rd-ranked Querrey’s first win against Djokovic.
Djokovic, who had not played since beating Andy Murray for the Shanghai title to win two Asian trophies in subsequent weeks last month, found his winning streak stopped on ten.