The weekend kicked off with sixteen singles matches and six doubles matches. Through this full slate of tennis action at the BNP Paribas Open, Vasek Pospisil upset Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also lost to an unseeded player, Gael Monfils was up to his usual trickery, and Americans struggled in doubles.
While some players barely scraped by to the second, and others met worse fates, there was one player who played up to his usual standard. Monfils faced an opponent whose ranking is 120 spots lower than him, so it was no surprise that the Frenchman got off to a lackadaisical start. His opponent Darian King took the first set, 6-3, but was quickly dismantled in the next two, 6-0, 6-1.
While it is good that the world number eleven was the Frenchman who avoided an upset, the real plus is that he gave the fans another high-flying highlight. Never change, Gael. Never change.
Losing in the second round of the fifth biggest tournament of the year is bad enough; losing in the second round of the fifth biggest tournament of the year to Fabio Fognini is even worse. The Italian is known more for racquet smashing and on-court antics than winning.
This match had everything from racquet tossing to a baseline dive along with plenty of the usual Fognini antics. Nonetheless, Tsonga was unable to overcome the world number 43 and became another top seed who fell victim to an upset.
On the doubles courts, the Americans had a rough go. The Bryan Brothers fell victim to Father Time once more via a first-round exit for the 38-year-olds. They lost to the spry Nick Kyrgios and the well-seasoned player, 40-year old Nenad Zimonjic, 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.
2017 has been a rough year for Murray already. He lost in the final of the Qatar Open to Novak Djokovic and followed that with a loss to Mischa Zverev in the round of 16 at the Australian Open. A title in the Dubai Tennis Championships seemed to turn things around, but a tough showing against Pospisil put Murray back on the downward spiral.
The young Canadian saw three break point chances in the opening game, but Murray persevered and even broke in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Pospisil responded with a 5-1 run over the next six games to take the set, 6-4.
In the second set, the 26-year-old broke serve in the first game en route to a 2-0 lead. Murray was able to claw back to level the score, but neither player broke serve for the rest of the set, so it headed to a tiebreak.
The tiebreak was all Pospisil as he struck first to reach quadruple match point at 6-2. Murray responded and fought his way to 6-5, but a clutch crosscourt forehand by Pospisil ended the long rally, the match, and Murray's singles run in Indian Wells.