Djokovic falls victim to US’ Querrey

REALITY CHECK::Novak Djokovic, who is to take over the No. 1 world ranking from Roger Federer on Monday, was dumped out of the Paris Masters by Sam Querrey


Fri, Nov 02, 2012 - Page 19

Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Paris Masters in his first match, losing 0-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to American journeyman Sam Querrey on Wednesday.

Third seed Andy Murray took full advantage of the situation at the last event of the ATP regular season before next week’s World Tour Finals, beating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round.

The Scot was joined by Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who defeated compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-3 and Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro, winner of his last two indoor events, who put out Alejandro Falla 6-2, 6-2.

Three men stayed in the race for the two remaining spots at next week’s season-ending event.

Serb Janko Tipsarevic overcame Igor Sijsling 6-4, 7-6 (7/0), Argentine Juan Monaco beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and Spain’s Nicolas Almagro defeated countryman Albert Ramos 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3.

French 12th seed Richard Gasquet lost his chance to qualify for the year-end event as he went down to Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-1.

Murray needed just over 90 minutes, winning with a dozen aces and 24 winners, while breaking Mathieu four times.

“I served well though I didn’t start the match returning particularly well,” Murray said.

“I was struggling a bit with the timing. I found the court pretty quick in comparison to how it was, how it was playing four or five days ago. I struggled a bit with that,” he added.

Djokovic, who is assured of finishing at the top of the ATP world rankings at the end of the season, has not lost a match at such an early stage of a competition since Miami in March 2010.

His second-round departure is a fresh blow for the tournament that has already had to do without star draw absentees Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, who regardless of this defeat takes over the world No. 1 spot from Federer on Monday, strode onto the court wearing a Darth Vader mask, but found himself the victim of a Halloween horror show.

Querrey fired 18 aces in a battle lasting just over two hours, with the American winning his first career match against a top-three player after nine defeats.

Djokovic had spoken this week about the repercussions the lack of a rest week prior to the season-ending tournament in London could have, though barely imagining that he could be the week’s first major victim.

“I knew the main problems would be my energy, it wasn’t there during the second set. I really felt my level drop,” Djokovic said after the defeat.

“I struggled every game, but on the brighter side, I have time to rest. I’ve been through a really difficult period this last few weeks. There have been a lot of things on my mind, some things happened,” he added.

Djokovic did not comment on reports that his father has been in hospital in Serbia with a respiratory problem.

His shock loss was the 23rd-ranked Querrey’s first win against Djokovic.

Djokovic, who had not played since beating Andy Murray for the Shanghai title to win two Asian trophies in subsequent weeks last month, found his winning streak stopped on 10.