Dull Djokovic dumped by Rochus in Miami
MIAMI: Belgium''s pocket rocket Olivier Rochus pounded out a dramatic 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 opening upset over Novak Djokovic to knock the second-seeded Serb out of the ATP Masters event in Miami.
Women''s seventh seed Jelena Jankovic followed up her WTA Indian Wells title with an opening victory, defeating Mariya Koryttseva 6-4, 6-0 to save face for Serbia as her compatriot went down on a day when rainy weather ruled the schedule.
Rafael Nadal meanwhile made an efficient start as the fourth seed subdued American Taylor Dent 6-4, 6-3 in his opening match.
The routine win in just over an hour was straightforward for Nadal, a two-time Miami finalist looking to stop the rot and win his first title since Rome last May.
The Spaniard moved through despite a painful wisdom tooth which must be removed after his tournament ends.
A pair of Americans were bundled out as Frenchman Jeremy Chardy stopped Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Brazil''s Tomaz Bellicci added to the misery of veteran James Blake with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat.
Rochus, who stands just 1.67 metres and ranks 59th in the world, fought like a tiger throughout the contest, sweeping the first set and battling hard in the second under a barrage of break points.
The underdog was broken leading 5-4 and serving for the win in the third, but the Belgian broke back for victory as Djokovic sailed a forehand over the baseline after nearly three hours on court plus the nearly one-hour rain delay.
The frustrated Serb was left to ponder 10 double-faults and six broken serves.
It was the 2007 champion''s fourth lost of the season against 15 wins less than a month after lifting his 17th career title in Dubai.
"He made me run a lot, the points were long, I''m exhausted," said Djokovic.
"He was playing really well today. He deserved the win.
"He was motivated to win against a top player and had nothing to lose. He coped well.
The 22-year-old Serb, runner-up last year to Andy Murray, stands 12-4 in Miami and 1-3 against Rochus.
It was a second straight disappointment for Djokovic after losing in the Indian Wells fourth round last week to eventual champion Ivan Ljubicic.
"I didn''t feel great on the court and everyone could see," said Djokovic.
"Life goes on. I''ll try to make up for this loss.
"I wasn''t attacking, I was waiting for him to make shots. It wasn''t the right approach."
Two other seeds advanced, with number 12 Juan Carlos Ferrero moving through when Austrian Daniel Koellerer retired while trailing 4-0.
Spanish 15th seed David Ferrer scored a a defeat over Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-4.
Women''s second seed Caroline Wozniacki staged a comeback to beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Victoria Azarenka, WTA fourth seed at the nine-million-dollar mixed event, managed to slip in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru to open her title defence.