Murray loses in 3 sets in third round of BNP Paribas Open

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) There’s something about playing in the Southern California desert that gives Andy Murray fits.

He was upset in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday, losing 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) to 53rd-ranked Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

Murray was a losing finalist here in 2009 and has reached the quarterfinals five times, but has twice lost in his opening match in recent years and is 25-11 in the event. He’s never been comfortable with the high bounces and quick-flying balls in the dry air.

He’s changed up his preparation over the years, arriving several days early to practice or coming in just before the tournament begins. He even has his rackets strung four or five pounds tighter just for Indian Wells.

None of it has worked.

“I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here,” he said. “I still feel like I can’t really go for my shots. I feel like when I do, I make mistakes long. I have tried many different things. I don’t know exactly why it is.”

Delbonis scored the biggest win of his career, outlasting the second-seeded Murray in a 2-hour, 46-minute struggle. Three years ago, Delbonis defeated then-fifth-ranked Roger Federer in the semifinals at Hamburg.

“With the crowd, it’s a little bit more pressure, but I’m enjoying that kind of match,” Delbonis said. “It’s like a challenge every time, and I’m happy to get it.”

The left-handed Argentine rallied from 4-1 down in the third set, winning three straight games for a 4-all tie. He held serve to tie it 5-all and broke Murray in the next game to go up 6-5. Murray broke back to force the tiebreaker, but not without a fight by Delbonis, who trailed 15-40 and got to deuce before sending a backhand wide to let Murray even the set, 6-all.

“I just didn’t feel comfortable going for my serve,” said Murray, who had no aces and three double-faults. “I felt like every time I went for it I missed it. I didn’t have control on that shot at all.”

Murray led 3-2 in the tiebreaker before Delbonis reeled off five straight points to close out the match, using his heavy topspin to change up the pace. Murray committed errors on the last three points, with his forehand landing wide on match point.

“I feel good on the surface because it’s not too fast,” Delbonis said. “I can slice in that kind of court. I like it. I like to play in that kind of court, in hard courts that are not so fast. For me it’s a good court to be aggressive.”

Murray was competing in his first tournament as a father. His wife, Kim, gave birth to daughter Sophia on Feb. 7, a week after the Scotsman finished as the runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

“It will be nice to get to Miami and see my family,” said Murray, who next plays in the Miami tournament. “I do think I will play better tennis in Miami because I played some good stuff in the Davis Cup.”

Murray is the highest-seeded man to lose so far in the desert event.

Also advancing was No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka, a 6-4, 7-6 (5) winner over Andrey Kuznetsov; No. 8 Richard Gasquet, a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 winner over Alexandr Dolgopolov; and No. 10 Marin Cilic, who beat Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-3. No. 12 seed Milos Raonic moved on when 17th-seeded Bernard Tomic retired trailing 6-2, 3-0 because of a wrist injury.

In women’s third-round matches, No. 7 seed Belinda Bencic was upset by Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and 2008 winner Ana Ivanovic lost 6-2, 6-0 to 18th-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who improved to 4-0 in her career against Ivanovic.

Victoria Azarenka, the 2012 winner, defeated wild card Shuai Zhang of China, 6-4, 6-3.

Timea Bacsinszky beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in front of Wayne Gretzky, who was cheering his fellow Canadian, Bouchard. She has developed a friendship with the hockey great.

“I kind of just try to absorb every word he says and take it like it’s coming from God almost, because in our country, that’s what he is,” she said.

U.S. Open runner-up Roberta Vinci beat 17th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 6-1, 6-3, and Christina McHale, one of three American women left in the draw, lost to Sam Stosur, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.

The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.

He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.

The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”

Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.

An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.

The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.

The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.

Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.

That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.

After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.

“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”