Djokovic drops Murray at Sony Open in straight sets

3/26/2014

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Novak Djokovic benefited from an erroneous call in the pivotal game Wednesday to beat Andy Murray 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open.

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Novak Djokovic benefited from an erroneous call in the pivotal game Wednesday to beat Andy Murray 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open.

The disputed point occurred at the start of the 12th game, with Murray serving at 5-6. Djokovic charged forward to volley a short ball and hit it for a winner.

Murray argued — and TV replays confirmed — he should have be awarded the point because Djokovic's racket was on the other side of the net when he hit the ball. Chair umpire Damian Steiner declined to change his call, and such rulings can't be appealed for video review.

A flustered Murray then committed unforced backhand errors on the next three points to lose the game and the set. He took a lead in the second set but lost the final four games and the last 10 points.

Afterward, Murray downplayed the bad call.

"I'm not angry," he said. "It maybe had a slight bearing on that game, but I was still up a break in the second set."

Djokovic, bidding for his fourth Key Biscayne title, will play Friday against the winner of the match Wednesday night between Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori.

Dominika Cibulkova erased three match points in the second set — one when a call was overturned via replay — and beat Agnieszka Radwanska 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3. In Thursday's semifinals, the No. 10-seeded Cibulkova will play the winner of the match Wednesday night between No. 2 Li Na and No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki.

Murray won the Key Biscayne title in 2009 and 2013 but wasn't at his best against Djokovic. The Scot committed five double-faults and 32 unforced errors, including a flurry down the stretch.

He took a 3-2 lead in the second set with his only service break, then double-faulted twice to give it right back.

But it all might have been different if not for the much-discussed call late in the first set. After Djokovic won the disputed point, an irritated Murray walked to the net to discuss the matter with his opponent, who smiled and shrugged.

Djokovic had won praise for his sportsmanship when he conceded a point following an erroneous call in his match Tuesday, but this time he left the verdict to the umpire.

A sideline reporter told Murray that TV replays showed he was correct about the call, and during the ensuing changeover he questioned Steiner.

"His racket was over the net," Murray said. "It's quite clear. You can see it on the replay."

"I have to make a decision at the moment," Steiner replied.

Any hard feelings on Murray's part didn't carry over after the match, when he shook hands with Djokovic and Steiner.

"It's a hard one for the umpire to call," Murray said. "Just frustrating."

Cibulkova won despite losing her serve 10 times, double-faulting eight times and committing 51 unforced errors. There were 11 breaks in the first 12 games of the match.

Cibulkova collapsed to her back in jubilation when Radwanska's final shot sailed out. The runner-up at the Australian Open in January, Cibulkova advanced to the Key Biscayne semifinals for the first time.

In the second women's quarterfinal, China's Li Na won a tough match over Caroline Wozniacki, 7-5, 7-5.

Former No. 1 Martina Hingis teamed with Sabine Lisicki and overcame three match points against Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova to win 3-6, 7-6 (7), 10-7 and reach the semifinals in women's doubles.

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