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Murray stunned by Canada’s Pospisil at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Andy Murray was stunned in his opening match at the BNP Paribas Open by a man ranked 128 places below him, losing 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil on Saturday night.

It was, without a doubt, the biggest singles victory of his career for Pospisil, who spun around and flung away his racket after smacking a forehand winner to convert his fourth match point. Pospisil’s best accomplishment in tennis to date was winning a Wimbledon doubles title with Jack Sock of the U.S. in 2014.

There really was little reason to believe beforehand that Murray would have so much trouble Saturday. He is, after all, ranked No. 1, owns three Grand Slam singles titles and two Olympic singles golds, has about $55 million more in career earnings than Pospisil and a 45-0 edge in singles trophies.

Plus, Murray had won all four previous head-to-head matchups.

But Pospisil attacked second serves with great success this time and broke Murray four times – three in the opening set alone – while also keeping him off-balance with strong net play.

The tone was established early on in the second-round match. Murray, who had a bye in the first round, broke Pospisil twice in the opening set, but gave that edge back each time, winning only 1 of 9 second-serve points in that set.

Pospisil broke again to open the third, then held for 2-0 and had two break points to go up 3-0 after Murray double-faulted for the sixth time. But Murray held there, then broke back, and was steadier until the tiebreaker.

Yet another double-fault gave Pospisil a 3-1 lead, and he stretched that to 6-2, before relenting just a bit on the way to the upset.

Other seeded men losing Saturday: No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 19 Ivo Karlovic and No. 30 Feliciano Lopez.

Murray failed to mount the sort of comeback that Venus Williams fashioned earlier Saturday, when she cast aside three match points to get past another former No. 1-ranked player, Jelena Jankovic, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

Williams moved into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time since 2001, the year she and her father were jeered after she withdrew from her semifinal against younger sister Serena because of an injury. Williams boycotted the hard-court tournament until returning last year.

Against Jankovic, the 36-year-old Williams – a seven-time Grand Slam champion and the Australian Open runner-up against her sister in January – had white tape wrapping her right elbow and left thigh. And the American, who is seeded 12th, lost the opening set quickly, dropping 16 of 18 points on her own serve, before falling behind 4-1 in the second.

Even after Williams began turning things around from there, she was a point from losing on three occasions, each while she served trailing 6-5 in the second set. On the first, at 15-40, she ended an 11-stroke exchange with a backhand volley winner. On the next, at 30-40, Jankovic pushed a return of serve long. And on the third, later in that game, Jankovic again missed a return, again sending it long, and put her hands on her hips.

She would only win one game the rest of the way.

Also Saturday, Madison Keys played – and won – her first match of 2017 after time off because of a wrist operation, beating Mariana Duque-Marino 6-1, 7-5. Keys, a 22-year-old American ranked No. 9, had arthroscopic surgery on her left wrist shortly after the season-ending WTA Finals in October.

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Rafael Nadal had to wait while Caroline Wozniacki saved two match points and worked her way back into the Australian Open in the preceding match on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal, the 2017 runner-up, wasted no time in reaching the third round, dropping only one service game – while serving for the match – and making just 10 unforced errors in a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.

“It’s an important victory for me, I mean, he’s a tough opponent. Leonardo is a player with big potential,” said Nadal, who won the French and U.S. Opens last year but had his preparation for Australia delayed because of an injured right knee. “After a while without being on the competition … second victory in a row, that’s very important.”

There was more drama earlier on the center court and Margaret Court Arena, when second-seeded Wozniacki and 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to come back from big deficits.

Wozniacki was 5-1 down and facing two match points in third set against No. 119-ranked Jana Fett before deciding she had no choice but to attack.

“That was crazy,” Wozniacki said after winning the last six games in a memorable 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. “I don’t know how I got back into the match. I was like, `This is my last chance.

“At 5-1, 40-15, I felt like I was one foot out of the tournament. She served a great serve down the T – it was just slightly out. I was kind of lucky.”

Wozniacki won the next nine points, and 24 of the 31 points played from when she first faced match point. She clinched a 75-minute third set on her first match point when Fett netted a backhand.

The former No. 1-ranked Wozniacki will next play No. 30 Kiki Bertens, who beat Nicole Gibbs 7-6 (3), 6-0.

Tsonga rallied from 5-2 in the fifth to overcome Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in a 3-hour, 37-minute match that contained one of his nonchalant between-the-legs shots on an important point. And 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic overcame Yuichi Sugita 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 7-5, 4-6, 12-10.

Marta Kostyuk came from the other angle, the 15-year-old qualifier followed up her first-round win over 25th-seeded Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska.

The Australian Open junior champion last year, who entered the season-opening major ranked No. 521, Kostyuk became the youngest player since Martina Hingis in 1996 to win main draw matches at the season-opening major.

Things will get harder for her now, against fellow Ukrainian and No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina, who had a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Katerina Siniakova.

Another Ukrainian, Kateryna Bondarenko, beat No. 15-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 and will next play No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Belinda Bencic had a letdown two days after upsetting Venus Williams, losing 6-1, 6-3 to Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.

Bencic, who combined with Roger Federer to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland earlier this month, saved three match points on her serve before netting a backhand to give No. 124th-ranked Kumkhum a spot in the third round for the first time.

“I tried to reset and focus on the next match,” Bencic said. “I think it was also a very tough second round, for me the toughest I could get.”

French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko struggled at times before beating Duan Yingying 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Among the seeded men advancing were No. 6 Marin Cilic, who beat Joao Sousa 6-1, 7-5, 6-2, and No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta, who was leading 6-2, 3-0 when Gilles Simon retired from their second-round match with a thigh injury.

No. 23 Gilles Muller outlasted Malek Jaziri in five sets, Kyle Edmund had a straight-sets win over Denis Istomin – who beat then defending-champion Novak Djokovic in the second round here last year – and No. 28 Damir Dzumhur beat John Millman.

Ryan Harrison beat No. 31 Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

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More AP coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/AustralianOpen

Major moment: McDonald takes 3rd-ranked Dimitrov to 5 sets

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Mackenzie McDonald knew he was ready to turn pro after his junior year at UCLA. He had just won the NCAA singles and doubles titles and believed he was ready to take the next step.

After his surprise showing at this year’s Australian Open, he certainly made the right decision.

The 22-year-old McDonald emerged from qualifying to give a scare to No. 3-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday night, taking the Bulgarian to the distance at Rod Laver Arena before eventually falling 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6 in nearly 3+ hours.

“I was soaking it all in,” McDonald said. “It was a long match and I enjoyed every single moment of it.”

McDonald, who entered the tournament ranked No. 186, failed to get through qualifying at the majors three times last year, but his luck changed at this year’s Australian Open where he defeated French journeyman Stephane Robert in three sets in the last qualifying round to claim a spot in the main draw.

McDonald then beat fellow qualifier Elias Ymer of Sweden in the first round – his first win anywhere at the elite tour level. It was the boost he needed after struggling on the lower-tier pro circuits following his decision to leave college in 2016.

“Especially when you’re starting out, you have doubts,” he said after his first-round match. “You feel like some times are really rough, especially like when you lose early at a Future or Challenger (tournament). . You just have to stay really level-headed with this sport.”

Going into the second-round match against Dimitrov, McDonald was the heavy underdog. The highest-ranked opponent he had ever faced was No. 69 Rajeev Ram in Newport in 2016.

But instead of being overawed by the situation, McDonald broke ATP Finals champion Dimitrov’s serve to capture the first set and then hung in when the more experienced Bulgarian stormed back to claim the next two.

McDonald appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself as he took the fourth set 6-0 and extended the match deep into the fifth, pumping his fists after winners and repeatedly waving his arms over his head to rally the crowd to his side.

“I know how close I was to winning,” McDonald said afterward. “But he’s a good player. He’s been out here a while. I’d overall say there’s so many more positives than negatives.”

Fellow American Sam Querrey knows McDonald well, having spent time with him in California, and he’s not surprised by his rapid improvement in the last couple years.

“Even when he was in college, he was a freshman, a couple times I’d give him a ride home after practice and he’d ask me questions the entire car ride home, like, `What do you do on your forehand here?,’ `What’s the travel like?”‘ Querrey said. “He was just like always super inquisitive, so I’m glad to see it’s paying off.”

McDonald has also practiced with Dimitrov, and spent time hitting with Roger Federer. His success also shows there’s a path for tennis players who decide to go to university instead of turning pro in their teenage years.

“I went to college and I didn’t really have as many opportunities to play as many ATPs as some of these other guys,” he said. “Once you go (pro), you have to give it your all. That’s what I feel I’ve been doing since I stepped foot out of UCLA.”