World number three Alexander Zverev crashed out of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Sunday, stunned in his opening match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2) by 39th-ranked American Tommy Paul. After dropping a first set in which Paul mercilessly punished his second serve, the German Zverev balanced the match with the only break of the second set in the 10th game.
After holding his serve to love three times and breaking Paul in the sixth game of the third, Zverev looked to be on his way to victory.
But the German immediately served four double faults to give the break back and Paul dominated the tiebreak with the same aggression he showed in the opening set.
“I played at a very high level today,” said Paul, who took the biggest win of his career. “I knew how I wanted to play him, so I came out and executed it well.
“It got a little crazy there in the second set, and I was a little lucky at the end, but I played well when it came to the crusher, so I’m pretty happy with my performance.”
Zverev played his first tournament since being disqualified from the Mexico Open in Acapulco after losing his temper and repeatedly slamming his racket against the referee’s chair.
The 24-year-old Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo was fined $40,000 for verbal abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct. A further $25,000 fine and an eight-week suspension were suspended, provided he commits no further code violations for 12 months.
In the second round of other men, seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev pushed his ATP winning streak to 10 games, shaking off a slow start to defeat Dominik Koepfer 7-5, 6-4.
Rublev, emerging after titles in Marseille and Dubai this year, trailed 4-2 before breaking the 51st Koepfer twice to take the first set.
He finished with 32 winners against the German, taking 11 of 15 points at the net to lock up the match.
Sixth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini also advanced, holding on to a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Danish qualifier Holger Rune.
But ninth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime bowed and fell 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 ahead of Botic van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands.
31st seed Alexander Bublik sent former world number one Andy Murray to a 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 victory over the three-time Grand Slam champion.
Bublik, who took his first ATP title of his career in Montpellier in February, defeated Murray for the first time in three career meetings.
More disappointment came for Murray’s British compatriot Emma Raducanu, who was defeated in the third round by Croatian Petra Martic 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-5.
The 19-year-old Briton, who stormed to an unlikely US Open title in a qualifier last year, served for the game at 5-4 in the third.
But the 13th seed couldn’t muster a match point and lost the next three games, a series of forehand errors that ended her challenge in a final loss of service.
It was the last setback for Raducanu, who was eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open in January and suffered a hip injury in Guadalajara last month.
Martic, ranked 79th in the world, took her first win over a top-20 player in over two years.
“I wanted it so badly,” said Martic. “I’m just glad I stayed calm when I wasn’t playing so well. Because I think it went up and down for both sides.”
Third-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, the highest-ranking player in the women’s field, struggled early on but dominated late in a 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-1 win over Denmark’s Clara Tauson.
Former world number one Simona Halep crashed into Coco Gauff’s 18th birthday, beating the American youngster 6-3, 6-4.
Halep, the 2015 Indian Wells WTA champion handled gale-force winds beautifully, her 11 winners nearly matching her 12 unforced errors, while the aggressive Gauff’s unforced errors rose to 33.
Halep said she was pleased with her performance in the tricky conditions.
“I think I played tennis smartly,” said the Romanian, who saved all four breakpoints she encountered.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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