MONTE CARLO — Andy Murray surrendered a 4-0 lead in the decisive third set on his way to defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters Thursday as the world number one’s 2017 season hit another setback.
Murray suffered a shock third-round loss to Spain’s 15th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in more than two and a half hours.
Former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka was also routed, with the Swiss third seed losing to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-4, 6-4.
Ramos-Vinolas toppled Scottish top seed Murray on his second match point to progress to the quarterfinals on the Monaco clay for the first time at the French Open warm-up event.
“I’m disappointed to lose from the position that I was in.
“I mean, if you sort of look at the scoreline, it was 7-5 in the third. One week ago I would have been okay with that. But sitting here, being 4-Love up in the third, I haven’t lost many matches like that in my career,” said Murray.
“I’m disappointed. I feel like I had enough chances to win. I was close, I think. At 5-4, I had a chance in that game, as well.”
Victory for Vinolas-Ramos marked the first time the 29-year-old from Barcelona, who reached last year’s French Open quarter-finals, had got the better of a world number one.
His reward is a Friday quarterfinal against Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic, who motored past No. 9 seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-6 (7/0).
French Open decision on Sharapova on May 15
Maria Sharapova will learn on May 15 whether she can compete at the French Open after her drugs ban, French Tennis officials said Thursday, insisting the absence of pregnant Serena Williams would have no bearing on their decision.
Two-time Roland Garros champion Sharapova controversially returns next week from a 15-month drugs ban at the WTA Stuttgart Grand Prix.
Stuttgart offered the 30-year-old Russian a wildcard entry because she no longer has a world ranking — a move that angered some players. Sharapova has also been invited to clay-court events in Madrid and Rome.
Whether she receives a wildcard for Roland Garros will be revealed just a week before qualifying begins for the May 28-June 11 Grand Slam.
French Tennis Federation (FTF) President Bernard Giudicelli said last month they faced a moral dilemma and hinted he was against it.
If Sharapova misses out the French Open will go ahead in the absence of the two biggest drawcards in the women’s game, with Williams announcing Wednesday the end of her season due to pregnancy.
“Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are two unconnected cases,” said Giudicelli.
“We’re staging a Grand Slam, not a casting.”
If the FTF decides not to offer Sharapova a wildcard she still has a chance of making Roland Garros via the qualifiers, but for that route she must pick up enough points by winning or possibly even making the final in Stuttgart.
The Russian takes to the Tennis court next Wednesday — the first day she is eligible to play, with some rivals disapproving of the Stuttgart decision.
“It’s a German tournament and we have so many good German players so this is a little strange,” said Germany’s world number one Angelique Kerber.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki said the Stuttgart tournament’s generosity towards Sharapova is “disrespectful to other players and the WTA”. — Agencies