BNP Paribas Open defending champions, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, both lost in the 3rd round of the tournament.
A bigger surprise than Nadal losing the entire match was Nadal being on the losing end of a tight, and at times tragic, 3rd set tiebreak. Alexandr Dolgopolov defeated last year’s champ 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5). As with most brewing upsets, the match was filled with drama, tension and head-scratching decisions. After Dolgopolov was unable to serve out the match at 5-3 in the 3rd, everyone was sure he would not win another game. But, impressively considering the circumstances, the Ukranian was able to regroup and get the scalp.
Sharapova was sent home by qualifier, Camilla Giorgi, 3-6, 6-4, 5-7. She hit 16 winners and 58 unforced errors in a 3-set non-epic affair. Sharapova has not had the best start of the year but it’s somewhat understandable given that she had a long layoff at the end of 2013 as well as a coaching change. As we’ve come to learn with the Russian, it usually takes time (and matches) for her to get back to winning form.
Both Nadal and Sharapova will look to rebound in Miami next week.