Andy Murray wasted a match point against a qualifier ranked 69th and quickly lost his composure.
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Not exactly a recipe for victory.
Jerzy Janowicz of Poland rallied to stun the U.S Open and Olympic champion 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 Thursday in the third round of the Paris Masters.
A day after second-seeded Novak Djokovic lost to big-serving American Sam Querrey in the second round – his worst result since March 2010 – the third-seeded Murray lost to a player who opened the year taking part in Futures tournaments and is still struggling to find sponsorship back home.
”This was the most unbelievable day in my life. I beat Olympic champion, U.S. Open champion. Unbelievable feeling for me,” Janowicz said. ”Still, I have feeling like in few minutes I’m going to wake up and it’s gonna be everything gone.
”I don’t know actually what I supposed to say because it’s really hard to describe this feeling,” added Janowicz, who also beat Philipp Kohlschreiber and 13th-seeded Marin Cilic in the first and second rounds. ”It’s not easy for me to talk about this week, because I had really tough moments in my life. This is like really, like a movie for me.”
Murray had not lost to a player ranked so low since Guillermo Garcia-Lopez – then ranked 92nd – beat him in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open in March.
Janowicz said his parents, who were professional volleyball players, sold shops and apartments they owned to help his career take off.
”I’m from Poland and I know it’s not easy to become professional tennis player,” Janowicz said. ”Actually, I have problem with sponsors. I was fighting my whole life with money, so this week is really important for me to get some sponsors, to get some help.”
Murray served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but totally lost his composure and the ensuing tiebreaker as Janowicz evened the match.
”I needed to focus well on my serve. I did that for the most part, and then when I served for the match I didn’t play a particularly good game,” Murray said. ”He probably gained some confidence from that and played a good tiebreak, played aggressive. He hits a very flat ball, so when he’s hitting it well it comes through the court a lot.”
It was also the third straight match Murray has failed to convert match points. He squandered two against Milos Raonic in the Japan Open semifinals and five against Djokovic in the Shanghai Masters final.
”I have to make sure I tighten that up next week (at the World Tour Finals in London) if I get that opportunity,” Murray said. ”Make sure I don’t let it happen at the 02 (Arena).”
With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not playing in Paris, none of the Big Four are left. However, fourth-seeded David Ferrer, fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych, No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia reached the last eight.
Also, seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina lost 6-4, 6-3 to Frenchman Michael Llodra on a day of upsets.
Janowicz had the momentum after controlling the tiebreaker and broke Murray twice in the deciding set as he raced to a 5-1 lead.
”He’s maybe a little bit more unpredictable than a few of them from the back of the court,” Murray said. ”He tried a lot of drop shots and went for winners when he was out of position that maybe some of the others don’t.”
Serving for the match, Janowicz saved three break points and secured the win on his second match point with a forehand winner. He slumped to the ground and broke down in tears as he held his head in his hands.
It was only his second match against a top-10 player – the first was against Murray in the 2009 Davis Cup.
As he did back then, Murray looked to be coasting to victory at the Palais Omnisports.
Serving for the match, Murray started to get flustered and his temper got the better of him as he smacked his hand against his forehead and then muttered to himself after Janowicz saved a match point. Two unforced backhand errors from Murray then helped Janowicz break for 5-5.
”I need to make sure I’m a little bit sharper when I’m in those positions than I have been the last few weeks,” Murray said.
For the first time, the tournament will feature three French players in the last eight – Tsonga, Llodra and Gilles Simon.
Tsonga beat 11th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) and next plays Ferrer, who beat 16th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
Tipsarevic beat ninth-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and next plays Janowicz, while Llodra takes on Querrey, after he beat 14th-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (1).
In a matchup of two big servers, Querrey had 12 aces to Raonic’s 10.
Earlier, Berdych recovered from a poor first set to beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and next plays Simon, who advanced when Kei Nishikori of Japan pulled out because of a recurrence of his right ankle injury.
With so many big names out of the way, Berdych is in a strong position to add to his 2005 title and Tsonga to his 2008 success.
Thanks to their wins, Tsonga and Tipsarevic took the final two spots for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London.