American men and women are a combined 0-9 in Stadium 1 at the BNP Paribas Open through two days of main-draw action. That’s right; in nine attempts, Americans have failed to win a single match on the marquee court at the Indian Wells Masters.
The carnage began on Wednesday, when all five contests saw a woman representing the United States lose to a foreigner. Nicole Gibbs, CiCi Bellis, Danielle Collins, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Christina McHale all suffered first-round defeats. Gibbs led Heather Watson by a set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, while Bellis also had her chances up 4-2 in the third set on Kirsten Flipkens before going down 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Two more WTA Americans–Irina Falconi and Alison Riske–crashed out on Thursday despite also being competitive. Falconi lost to Jelena Jankovic in three sets and Riske fell to Donna Vekic 6-3, 7-6(2).
A pair of their compatriots in the men’s bracket will also have a long break in between the two Masters 1000 tournaments Indian Wells and Miami. Frances Tiafoe was beaten by Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-3 during the afternoon session and the nightcap did not end well for recent Memphis champion Ryan Harrison. In a rematch of a Memphis quarterfinal contest that Harrison took in straight sets, Damir Dzumhur exacted revenge in the form of a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory.
This latest Harrison-Dzumhur showdown was an absolute roller-coaster both physically and emotionally. Harrison dropped the first four games of the match and called for the trainer and doctor late in the first set due to a lack of energy. Dzumhur needed a visit, himself, from the trainer to deal with a nasty cut on his knee after he slid on the hard court as if he was playing at Roland Garros. Interestingly, both players also took medical timeouts during their Memphis showdown.
Seemingly energized by whatever the doctor prescribed him and with Dzumhur no longer speeding around the court quite as fast as he had been, Harrison had answers in set two after dropping the first. The Louisiana native and Texas resident surged to a 3-0 advantage and coasted the rest of the way. With momentum in hand, Harrison also seized an early break in the decider to lead 3-2.
But it all fell apart for the world No. 45 as he neared the finish line. Dzumhur broke back immediately, thus sapping both the energy and belief in his opponent. Once again tracking down almost every would-be winner by Harrison, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top player eventually fought off a crucial break point at 5-5 to force his opponent to serve with the pressure on at 5-6. That’s when Harrison cracked one last time, as a netted backhand on Dzumhur’s second match at ad-out brought an end to things after two hours and 10 minutes–and after midnight.
It also brought a much swifter end to Harrison’s rackets.
Two tirades after the final two points resulted in three demonlished sticks. After erring wildly on a backhand volley at deuce, Harrison walked over to his chair and stomped on a racket that he wasn’t even using. When one more unfortunate point sealed his fate, he destroyed both the racket that was in his hand and another one that had been in the bag–both in ferocious fashion.
Harrison destroys racket he wasn't even using pic.twitter.com/4SoleY3sIt
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) March 10, 2017
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) March 10, 2017
Harrison then marched off the court in defeat, leaving the three pieces of evidence behind him on the ground. And that just about summed up the Americans’ first two days in the desert.