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Juan Martin Del Potro advances, Andy Murray ousted at Indian Wells

Del Potro defeats defending BNP Paribas Open champion Ivan Ljubicic, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Fifth-seeded Murray is upset by Donald Young, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Caroline Wozniacki and Rafael Nadal also advance.

March 12, 2011|Bill Dwyre
  • Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Ivan Ljubicic, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, in the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Ivan Ljubicic, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, in the BNP Paribas… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Welcome back to the BNP Paribas Open, Ivan Ljubicic, site of your most impressive title in tennis, the 2010 men's singles of this prestigious ATP World Tour event.

Now, meet your first opponent, Juan Martin Del Potro, once No. 4 in the world and the champion over Roger Federer, no less, of the 2009 U.S. Open. Oh yes, he is only nine years younger, three inches taller and hits his forehand like Albert Pujols hits home runs.

Oh, sorry about that 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 whipping at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

"Tough draw," said Ljubicic, the 31-year-old from Croatia who was attempting to repeat here after badly injuring ankle ligaments three weeks ago in Dubai.

Del Potro, of Argentina, who spent much of 2010 out with injury himself and has worked his way back to No. 90, said, "I feel bad I beat the last champion, and of course, [it was] a nice match for my comeback."

Fifth-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland suffered a fate similar to Ljubicic's. He was ousted by American Donald Young, ranked No. 143 and into the main draw via the qualifying tournament. Young's 7-6 (4), 6-3 beating continued a slump by Murray of seven straight-set losses, including the straight three sets in the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic.

Both top-seeded players won with ease.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark took out young U.S. player Sloane Stephens, 6-3, 6-2, and said, "I would like to go, match to match, and try to develop my game."

Rafael Nadal of Spain, who has stumbled through some early-season injuries and has played only 11 matches this season (9-2), had little trouble with Rik de Voest, a qualifier from South Africa, who did his best to fire up the crowd with a big smile after victories in two games in his 6-0, 6-2 defeat.

In other matches, Southern Californian Sam Querrey started well with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, and 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic of Croatia upset sixth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, 7-6 (3), 6-3. Li Na, seeded 17th and the Australian Open final loser to Kim Clijsters this year, was upset by Shaui Peng, also of China, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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