Djokovic & Murray Suffer Tough Doubles Loss
by Matt Fitzgerald|
In a high-quality first round doubles match featuring the most riveting point of this year’s Sony Ericsson Open, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Mikhail Youzhny edged Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.
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With Djokovic and Murray leading 7-5 in the final set match tie-break, a Youzhny serve started the exhilarating point. Murray’s return clipped the tape, forcing the Russian to come in. He and Stakhovsky began to impose themselves, moving Djokovic right and left. The Serb and Scot stayed in the rally, returning three overheads. Youzhny opted to let their fourth one bounce and it landed on the baseline – this consequently put him and Stakhovsky on the defense, giving Djokovic and Murray a chance to finish the point at net. Murray, however, went for a sharp backhand volley and cut it short, causing his partner to fall to the ground and an eruption of appreciation from the crowd.
Had Djokovic and Murray won the point, they would have moved ahead 8-5, with a chance to serve out the match. Instead, they served at 7-6 and lost four of the final five points to lose the first-round thriller. Stakhovsky and Youzhny advance to play second seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor.
The Belarusian-Canadian tandem needed three sets to defeat Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, winning 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-7. Mirnyi has reached the final here the past two seasons with previous partners, taking home the title in 2009 with Andy Ram.
2010 US Open finalists Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber and Rajeev Ram 6-3, 7-6(5). Kohlschreiber and Ram won nine more points than their counterparts in the second set but a one-of-seven-break-points-converted ratio hurt them in the end. Bopanna and Qureshi will face Michal Mertinak and Dick Norman in the second round.
Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey came back from a set down to advance over Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7. Nicknamed “Quisner”, the tall combination hit eight aces and won 68 percent of their points on serve. Up next for Isner and Querrey will be No. 8 seeds Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau, or Simon Aspelin and Julian Knowle.
Lukas Dlouhy and Paul Hanley, two-time winners on the ATP World Tour this season and Marc Lopez and David Marrero, were also first round men’s doubles winners.
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