Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray was brought back to earth on Thursday with a surprise defeat by unseeded Jeremy Chardy at the Western & Southern Open.
While his regular rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic won through to the quarter-finals, Murray lost 6-4, 6-4 to Chardy, an opponent he had beaten easily the four previous times they had played.
Murray had trouble controlling his shots on a breezy, hot afternoon.
“I was a little bit uncomfortable with those balls bouncing extremely high,” Murray said. “It was fairly hard to control.”
Murray won a gold medal in the Olympics at Wimbledon by beating Federer, the highlight of his career. He went to Toronto last week hoping to get in shape for the hard-court season, but had to withdraw from the Rogers Cup because of a minor injury to his left knee.
Murray felt good and moved well in an opening two-set win on center court on Wednesday. Playing on the grandstand court a day later, the Scot never got into a rhythm.
Now, Murray heads to New York to practice for the US Open, having played only three matches on hard courts since returning from Wimbledon’s grass.
Chardy got into the tournament as a replacement for John Isner, who had a sore back. The Frenchman won his opener over Andy Roddick, who developed back spasms during the match on Tuesday.
Chardy is the first injury replacement to reach an ATP Tour quarter-final this season.
Federer beat Bernard Tomic 6-2, 6-4 and has looked sharp in his two hard-court matches. Federer skipped the Rogers Cup last week.
“I feel like things are working really well for me,” Federer said. “Regardless of what’s going to happen, I’m feeling good, I’m healthy, I have no issues. I’m happy I got over the jet lag and so the risk is less to get injured and all those things. So I’m in a good place right now.”
Djokovic was on the court for only 30 minutes in the evening. Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko quit after losing the first set 6-0, bothered by a sore right shoulder. He called the trainer over at the break, then decided not to continue.
Davydenko warmed up fine, but his serve quickly deteriorated. He had eight double faults, made 16 unforced errors and won only 16 points.
“You definitely don’t want to win like this,” Djokovic said. “He couldn’t serve over 145kph [by the end of the set] and he had a lot of double faults. Something was bothering his shoulder. Hopefully he’ll be able to recover in time for the US Open.”
On the women’s side, top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska overcame an unexpected challenge from wild-card Sloane Stephens before winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Radwanska, who lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, reached the tournament’s quarter-final for the first time in three appearances.
Like Murray, she had trouble with the condition on the grandstand court.
“It was so hot and windy,” she said. “I think that this court was slower than the center [court] and the ball didn’t go at all. I was hitting as much as I could, but it just was hard to make winners there.”
Serena Williams won her 19th straight match — her last 12 in straight sets — by beating Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-3. Williams has not lost a set since the Wimbledon final.
She returned to Wimbledon and won the gold medal in singles and in doubles with sister Venus. The travel and the hot conditions have worn her down.