Andy Murray’s BNP Paribas Open has closed after just one match.
Murray lost his opener to Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 7-6(5) during second-round action on Saturday night. Showcasing aggressive tactics such as serve-and-volleying and also getting into the net during return games, as he almost always does, Pospisil broke the top-seeded Scot four times before advancing in one hour and 50 minutes.
Murray led by a break in the first set but was eventually doomed by winning a horrendous one of nine-second serve points. But it was the world No. 1’s turn to recover from a break deficit in the second, eventually playing his way into a tiebreaker after trailing 2-0.
Pospisil stormed to a 6-2 lead in the ‘breaker top put himself all but across the finish line only to see Murray fight off three straight match points with a big serve followed but taking each of his opponent’s service points. The underdog, though, refused to squander his fourth opportunity and instead firing a cross-court forehand winner to clinch victory.
“I felt like I was playing better as the match was going on, especially in that first set,” Pospisil said. “I was just kind of sticking to the game-plan and kind of distracting my mind with what I wanted to do on the court. Of course, still some [doubts] come in–especially in the second set. You know, it’s not every day you’re close to beating the No. 1 player in the world.
So I did well to stick with the process and not really get distracted, and Andy [was] a bit off today.”
Murray is often off in Indian Wells, now an unspectacular 25-12 lifetime at the event with zero titles. He lost to Federico Delbonis in the third round last spring.
“I don’t know exactly why it is, because in practice here normally I play pretty well,” Murray commented. “And then some years I played well. Some years it just hasn’t quite happened for me. I don’t know exactly why that is. I don’t know if it is the conditions here or…I really don’t know why I haven’t played my best here over the years.
“I didn’t serve particularly well tonight, which didn’t help things. And then in the second set he started to play more aggressively. I was giving myself decent looks at passing shots, (but) I missed a few tonight. He also came up with some really good reflex volleys on important moments and important points.”
It was an especially important victory for Pospisil, who has plunged outside the top 100 in the world and had to qualify earlier this week just to get into the main draw. He also has a chance to go much further in a quarter of the bracket that is now without both Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tsonga went down to Fabio Fognini 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4 on Saturday afternoon. Pospisil, meanwhile, will face unseeded Dusan Lajovic on Monday after the Serb ousted Feliciano Lopez in a third-set tiebreaker.