Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Lucky loser Coric defeats ‘concerned’ Murray

AFP, MADRID

Croatia’s Borna Coric celebrates after defeating Britain’s Andy Murray in their Mutua Madrid Open third-round match on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

World No. 1 Andy Murray’s slump in form continued on Thursday as he crashed out of the Mutua Madrid Open in the third round 6-3, 6-3 to lucky loser Borna Coric.

Rafael Nadal extended his flawless record on clay this season to 12-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 destruction of Nick Kyrgios, while defending champion Novak Djokovic also eased into the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Feliciano Lopez.

Coric was only handed a late reprieve to enter the draw in Madrid after losing in qualifying to Mikhail Kukushkin.

“After one match of the quallies, where I lost, and I was booking my flight back to home,” Coric said. “I couldn’t imagine this when I woke up this morning, I always believed, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to play.”

“In the end, I played as I had dreamed,” he added.

However, Murray cut a frustrated figure as he was swept aside by the 20-year-old Croatian for the second time in the pair’s four meetings.

“I didn’t help myself find a way into the match to start playing better,” Murray said. “I definitely think I need to be concerned about today.”

“It’s not always the worst thing losing a match, but it’s sometimes the manner of how you lose the match is what can be concerning or disappointing,” he added.

Coric broke the fragile Murray serve three times in the first set under the roof at the Manolo Santana center court due to rain in the Spanish capital.

One poor service game from the Wimbledon champion cost him dearly in the second, as Coric served out for the match to set up a quarter-final meeting with Dominic Thiem.

Nadal had no such troubles as he dominated Kyrgios to beat the Australian in just more than an hour.

“I played really well tonight. Right from the start I made very few errors,” the Spaniard said. “To win 6-3, 6-1 against an opponent as good as Nick, isn’t normal.”

The 14-time Grand Slam champion had a slice of fortune as a let cord and a Kyrgios double fault handed him the two breaks he needed to take the first set.

However, Kyrgios showed little resistance after being broken once more in the first game of the second set as he was whistled from at the end by Spanish fans unhappy at only seeing Nadal on court for 73 minutes.

He admitted to having a defeatist attitude from the start.

“I wasn’t expecting to beat him at all tonight, to be honest,” Kyrgios said.

Nadal was yesterday to face David Goffin after the Belgian beat world No. 6 Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-2.

After suffering his own struggles of late, Djokovic was encouraged by his display in seeing off Lopez and a partisan crowd to reach the last eight.

“If you’re playing against a Spanish player in Madrid, it’s obviously a different game, it’s a different feeling,” Djokovic said. “They have a lot of support. You need to kind of hold your nerve, hold your concentration, and use all the necessary energy at the right moments.”

Djokovic was yesterday to face a much tougher test against world No. 8 Kei Nishikori, who earlier swept aside David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3.

However, Nishikori has only won two of their previous 13 meetings.

“Novak is someone that I don’t have good record [against],” the Japanese said. “I got to stay really positive and I got to play great tennis to beat him. I try to enjoy my big challenge tomorrow.”

Thiem saved five match points to edge out Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling third-set tiebreak 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (11/9).

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