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Chardy Stuns Defending Champ Murray; Djokovic Advances

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Chardy© Getty ImagesJeremy Chardy upset defending champion Andy Murray to reach the quarter-finals.

French lucky loser Jeremy Chardy extended his giant-killing run at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday in Cincinnati when he ousted defending champion and third seed Andy Murray 6-4, 6-4 in the third round. Chardy had upset American No. 16 seed Andy Roddick in the first round and defeated Denis Istomin on Wednesday.

World No. 38 Chardy had only taken one set off Murray in their four previous meetings, but reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final as he dismissed the Scot in one hour and 38 minutes. The Frenchman saved two break points in the sixth game before punishing Murray in the following game and taking the first set. He twice squandered a service break lead at the start of the second set, but held onto his third break in the fifth game to claim victory.

"Sometimes a few games can change matches," explained Murray. "I had break points in the first set. If I had maybe gone up there, maybe I would have started to play better. But when I went behind, he started serving better and he was going for his shots."

Looking ahead to the upcoming US Open, Murray commented, "It doesn't normally have that much bearing [before Grand Slams]. But obviously I would have liked to have done a bit better this week."

Murray dropped to a 40-11 match record on the season. The Scot reached the Wimbledon final six weeks ago, finishing runner-up to Roger Federer. He then avenged that defeat by winning the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics on the same court four weeks later.

The 25-year-old Chardy, who has compiled a 20-15 match record in 2012, goes onto face sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro. He is bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season after reaching the last four in Vina del Mar in February (l. to Monaco).

Novak Djokovic, who finished runner-up to Murray last year, won the opening set against Nikolay Davydenko 6-0 when the Russian retired from their third-round match after 32 minutes of play. Davydenko, struggling with a shoulder injury, managed to win just 37 per cent of his service points and committed eight doubles faults.

"His first serves didn't go over 90 miles per hour, so something obviously was wrong with his shoulder," said Djokovic. "It's unfortunate. It was a night session match and many people came to watch. Obviously I was also expecting a good and interesting and tough match. It's the way it is. Hopefully he recovers for the US Open."

World No. 2 Djokovic extended his winning streak on hard courts to 13 straight matches, inclusive of his title wins at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in April at Miami (d. Murray) and last week in Toronto (d. Gasquet).

"Obviously I don't want to win with injury of my opponent, but in this moment I try to gather as much energy as I can and save as much energy as I can and take one day actually at a time," said Djokovic. "I'm not really trying to think in advance during this week, because I know that I'm not the freshest player in this tournament, so that's why I'm trying to take it step by step."

He is looking to win the Cincinnati title for the first time after losing in the final in 2008 and '11 to Murray, and in 2009 to Roger Federer.

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©Arnaud Briand

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