For the second straight day at the Sony Ericsson Open, a highly ranked male seed went out in the second round. World number three and defending champion, Andy Murray, was beaten by Mardy Fish 6-3,6-4 . Although Roger Federer, the number one seed, was pushed by Nicolas Lapentti. Federer still won comfortably 6-3, 6-3.
In the opening set, in a game in which Fish double faulted, Murray captured the break for 3-1. However, the next game, Murray threw in a double fault on break point permitting Fish to get back on serve. With Murray serving in the ninth game, Fish attained triple break point. Despite Murray reaching deuce and game point, Fish would not be denied. Mardy manufactured two more break point chances and converted. Then, on the third asking, Fish closed out the first set.
Poor serving and a tentative return game were what Murray brought to the table; thus, Fish took full advantage. The initial game of the second set, Murray double faulted handing Fish his second break point opportunity, the American converted. After consolidating and widening his lead to 3-1, Fish cruised on serve. However, in the eighth game, Fish faced a 15-40 deficit. Once again, the serve was his ally. By raining a few bombs, Fish extricated himself out of this jam and maintained a 5-3 lead. After Murray held, serving out the match, Fish once more was down break point. Still, Fish snuffed Murray’s advantage with his serve. Subsequently, with a couple of aces and unreturnables, Fish sealed the win.
Murray spends a lot of time training in South Florida, so MiamiTennisNews wondered:
Q. You know this court almost more than anyone else. You practice here all the time. What made the difference in today’s match?
MURRAY: Well, Mardy served well when he needed to. You know, especially the second set when he was down break points he served well. But I just wasn’t very good today, and I’m going to need to get a lot better.
After Murray’s debacle, a love-30 start to Federer’s opening game and a break point the subsequent one by Lapentti were preoccupying. Still, with a few good serves, Federer held to stay on serve. For his part, Lapentti had no difficulty holding with back to back love games for 2 all. After multiple errant forehands, with Lapentti serving at 4-5, Federer connected on a forehand up the winner for deuce. Later, Federer provoked a backhand error by Lapentti resulting in break point. Then, the world number one produced a stellar backhand down the line pass to go ahead 5-3. Following, with an easy game, Federer slammed the door on the first set.
Lapentti revealed no signs of disappointment, starting the second set strongly in part aided by Federer having trouble finding his mark with the forehand. Similarly, Federer continued to have routine service games. The good thing for Federer was that when it mattered, his forehand showed up. With Lapentti serving at 3 all, Federer obtained break point with a forehand up the line winner. When Lapentti’s forehand sailed long, Federer had the crucial break. After getting out of love-30 mess to consolidate, with a backhand crosscourt winner, Federer broke Lapentti to finish the match.
As anticipated, Robin Soderling, Marin Cilic, Fernando Gonzalez and Fernando Verdasco advanced, all in straight sets. Seeds Mikhail Youzhny, Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Monaco, Jurgen Melzer, Marcos Baghdatis and Feliciano Lopez also moved on without difficulty. On the other hand, Alberto Montanes, the 26th seed, Gilles Simon, seeded 20th, and Janko Tipsarevic, the 31st seed, were ousted.
For the women, it was business as usual. Svetlana Kuznetsova, the top seed, with a 6-2,6-3 win, sent Agnes Szavay home . Venus Williams said arrivederci to Roberta Vinci with a 6-1,6-4 victory. Agnieszka Radwanska took care of Ana Ivanovic 7-5,7-5. Both Yanina Wickmayer and Marion Bartoli only needed two sets to pass to the round of 16. The night match between Daniela Hantuchova and Nadia Petrova was less stimulating than expected. Hantuchova prevailed over Petrova 6-2,6-4. Timea Bacsinszky had an easy time with Polona Hercog 6-2,6-2. Her next round will be more challenging as she faces Wickmayer.
The shocker for the women came from the doubles field as the top seed Cara Black and Liezel Huber were defeated in the first round by Natalie Grandin and Abigail Spears.