Paris: Andy Murray joined arch-rival Novak Djokovic in heading for the exit at the Paris Masters with an early-round loss on Thursday as the eight-man line up for next week’s season finale in London was completed.
Third-seed Murray was spanked by towering Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 as the Scot followed Dkjokvic in losing early at the last event of the regular season. World number one Roger Federer and injured number four Rafael Nadal did not play the event.
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga thrilled the home crowd with his defeat of Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3). That result put Serb Janko Tipsareivc into the eighth spot in the year-end field.
Tipsarevic made his own luck as he knocked rival Juan Monaco off with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win.
London qualifier Tomas Berdych, the Czech fifth seed, came back to defeat South African Kevin Anderson 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. France’s Michael Llodra ended an 11-match indoor win streak for Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-3.
Murray had never been beyond the Bercy quarter-finals and looked like having the perfect chance to fix that blemish in his record.
But beanpole Janowicz upset the form book with his huge serve, which produced 22 aces and 51 winners in just under two and a half hours.
“He played aggressive. He moves pretty good, serves very well. He’s unpredictable,” said Murray, who was heading to London within hours.
“When you’re on your serve (with a match point) you must close the match.”
The 21-year-old winner scored the biggest success of his career on his second match point and fell to the ground with his hands over his eyes lying on the court in pure joy.
“This was the most unbelievable day in my life. I beat Olympic champion, US Open champion. I beat Andy Murray.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling for me. I feel like in a few minutes I’m going to wake up and it’s gonna be everything gone.
“I don’t know actually what I am supposed to say because it’s really hard to describe this feeling. It’s not easy for me to believe what happened actually.”
Murray did not want to predict how the exits of himself and Djokovic might affect their showings in London next week.
“Only time will tell really. A lot of the players will have had slightly different run-ins to the O2. Obviously me and Novak lost early this week; Roger didn’t play, and then I think the rest of the guys are still in here,” he said.
“You never know, maybe the guys that go deep here they’ll have confidence from having a good tournament. But they may arrive a little bit later and might take a while to get used to the conditions.
“I’ll be in London tonight. I’ll have some rest and I’ll come back to practise on Saturday.”
The defeat means that the quarter-finals will be the first in four years at a Masters 1000 not to feature at least one of the top four players.
Janowicz had beaten a pair of top 20 opponents this week in number 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber and number 15 Marin Cilic, never facing a break point in those matches.