Andy Murray hit error after error Thursday and was eliminated from the Madrid Masters in the third round. The Wimbledon champion lost to 46th-ranked Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2. Murray’s play was erratic throughout the match against the Colombian qualifier, who earned his first career victory against a top-10 player in 20 attempts.
The eighth-ranked Murray mentioned his split from coach Ivan Lendl alongside his “inconsistent” play. “My coach is missing. That’s quite a big part of my team,” Murray said. “I didn’t envision a finish like that. I need to sit down and think about that the next couple of days and see what I need to do.”
Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams had little trouble in reaching the quarterfinals at the clay-court tournament, both winning in straight sets. Nadal hadn’t lost a quarterfinal on clay in nine years until last month in Monte Carlo and he repeated the disappointing feat in Barcelona.
On Thursday, Nadal let a 3-1 lead in the second set slip before beating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-1, 6-4. Nadal will next face sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, who beat Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Berdych hasn’t beaten Nadal since a 2006 meeting in Madrid, which was marked by jeering and angry exchanges between the players. Also, Japanese player Kei Nishikori improved to 8-0 on clay this season with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) win over Milos Raonic of Canada.
LI TO MEET SHARAPOVA
Williams earned her 650th career victory with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro. Williams, in pursuit of her 60th title, hit 27 winners to her Spanish opponent’s five.
Williams will next face 2011 champion Petra Kvitova. The fifth-seeded Czech beat Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-3. Also, Australian Open champion Li Na and Maria Sharapova will meet in the quarterfinals after both won their third round matches.
After a poor opening set, the second-ranked Li overcame a slew of unforced errors and a bothersome toe problem to beat Sloane Stephens of the United States 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Sharapova beat Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4, 6-3.
Sania Mirza and Cara Black gave a scare to top seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng before losing the women’s doubles quarter-final. The fifth seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair lost 7-5 1-6 8-10 to the Taipei-Chinese team in one hour and 30 minutes.
There was not much to separate the two pairs as the Portugal Open winners won 62 points to 67 of their top seeded rivals. Sania and Cara converted four break chances while Hsieh and Peng broke them five times in the match which was decided via a thrilling Super Tie-Breaker. Indian challenge is still alive in the tournament as Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi, seeded eighth, have been given a continued…