Rafa Nadal has crashed out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after a stunning upset at one of the world’s biggest tournaments outside the four Grand Slams, while Andy Murray progressed despite being given a run for his money, Malta Today reports.
Nadal blew a 4-2 lead in the deciding tiebreak after the Spaniard had fought his way back from 5-2 down in the deciding third set on Tuesday.
“I wanted to play very well here. I had good success in this tournament in the past, a tournament I always feel good about,” said Nadal, who will now turn his attention to the Sony Open in south Florida.
“I’m going to keep working hard to try to be ready to play better in Miami.”
Nadal beat Dolgopolov in the final of the inaugural Rio Open last month but the Ukrainian got his revenge on the world number one in the Californian desert.
“I feel great, as after every win, of course. I beat the defending champion and the number one in the world,” said Dolgopolov, whose next opponent is Fabio Fognini after the Italian saved two match points in a 6-2 3-6 7-5 win over Frenchman Gael Monfils.
There were no other major surprises although Britain’s Murray was forced to dig deep to see off promising Czech Jiri Vesely and avoid a similar fate.
The Wimbledon champion won 6-7 (7-2) 6-4 6-4 but only after clawing back from the brink of defeat against the 20-year-old Vesely.
Murray lost the opening set despite going up an early break but then struggled on serve against the left-handed Vesely, ranked 77th in the world.
The Scotsman was broken six times in the match and trailed in both the second and third sets but fought back each time, reeling off four consecutive games to seal victory.
“It was just one of those matches where there wasn’t one period where I thought that the level of tennis from both of us was high at the same time,” said Murray.
“That can create a lot of breaks and a lot of sort of back and forth swings in the match. It wasn’t just the start of the match that was frustrating. The whole match was.”
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