Djokovic breezes through at Indian Wells

World number one Novak Djokovic eased into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament on Saturday while fourth-seeded Andy Murray made a premature exit.

Djokovic, champion here in 2008 and last year, handed out a 6-3 6-2 thrashing to Kazakhstan qualifier Andrey Golubev, breaking his opponent’s serve twice in each set to triumph in one hour 20 minutes.

“It was a good start,” the top-seeded Serb said in a courtside interview after sealing the win with a powerful first serve that forced a wild backhand error by his 145th-ranked opponent.

“We didn’t play a beautiful match and there were a lot of unforced errors but look, it’s the opening match of the tournament for me and I am still getting used to the conditions and adjusting to the court.

“Hopefully the next match will be better,” added the Serb, who won his fifth grand slam crown at the Australian Open in January.

Djokovic, who beat Spaniard Rafa Nadal in last year’s final, will next face South African Kevin Anderson, who benefited from a walkover when Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to an unspecified illness.

World number four Murray, runner-up at Indian Wells in 2009, was upset 6-4 6-2 by 92nd-ranked Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the second year in a row the Briton was eliminated in his opening match at Indian Wells.

“My return let me down and he hardly missed the ball,” Murray said after being broken once in the opening set and twice in the second. “I hit my backhand poorly tonight, no question.

“With the level of tennis nowadays you get no easy first round matches and you play a poor match, that’s what happens.”

Roddick fightback
Earlier, Czech Tomas Berdych advanced with a 6-7 6-3 6-4 win over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky while American Andy Roddick clawed his way back to beat Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 4-6 7-6 6-3.

Roddick, a break down and trailing 4-5 in the second set, was in danger of losing the match when he suddenly found form with his service returns to take control.

“That was all the difference,” said Roddick, whose world ranking of 31st is his worst since August 2001. “I had to have hit 10 winner returns from that point from being down in the second [set].

“I started putting pressure on every service game he had and broke like four times from then from not breaking at all for the first hour and 45 [minutes] I was out there.

“It was like a line in the sand. It went from terrible to good, for whatever reason. In the first two sets I couldn’t have hit a return into the ocean from the beach, much less on a tennis court.”

Former world number one Roddick will take on Berdych in the third round.

“We know each other pretty well,” he said of the Czech. “We’ve played a lot over the last couple of years. I think I’ve gotten him more than he’s gotten me.” – Reuters

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