INDIAN WELLS. — French Open tennis champion Stan Wawrinka reached the Indian Wells fourth round while world No. 2 Andy Murray suffered a shock third-round exit at the hands of claycourt specialist Federico Delbonis.
Wawrinka on Monday toppled Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in the third round of the ATP and WTA hardcourt tournament and two-time Grand Slam winner Murray lost 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) to 53rd ranked Argentinian Delbonis.
Wawrinka, who turns 31 later this month, has won two titles this year in Chennai and Dubai but has never made it past the quarter-finals in Indian Wells, one of the biggest events on the tennis calendar outside of the four Grand Slams.
Wawrinka next faces 15th seeded David Goffin of Belgium, who beat Guido Pella 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Murray’s exit left things wide open in the bottom half of the men’s draw, where Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet, Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych all advanced.
Wawrinka is on a nine-match win streak in finals after beating Marcos Baghdatis in Dubai. He captured his third consecutive Chennai crown in January.
Last year he won four titles, including his stunning 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 upset win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to claim his first French Open crown.
Murray (28) was playing in his first ATP Tour tournament since losing to Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open in January.
“It was a tough one to lose,” Murray said of the loss to Delbonis. “I fought hard to get into a winning position.
“I couldn’t go for my shots and when I did I made mistakes.”
Murray, who became a father on February 7 with the birth of his daughter Sophia Oliva, looked rusty after his layoff.
Murray’s forehand on match point sailed well wide and long, ending the two hour, 46-minute contest on Stadium Court. — AFP.