Baseline: March 6 tennis report

Tennis: Andy Murray takes on Maria Sharapova’s wild cards, Sinclair Broadcast Group takes on more tennis content and the game’s best get ready to take on Indian Wells.

By Andrea Leand, PSN analyst

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NEWS WIRE

  • Andy Murray expressed dismay over three wild cards granted Maria Sharapova, set to return to the WTA circuit April 26 with three consecutive events after serving a 15-month drug suspension. Murray cautioned Wimbledon against granting a main draw wild card to drug violators like the former Wimbledon champion.
  • Sharapova will mark her return at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, followed by the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain and the Italian Open in Rome.
  • Andy Murray revealed it was his mother-in-law who diagnosed his case of shingles after he returned from the Australian Open. “She told me to drop my pants so she could see what it was,” he said, “and she was right.”
  • After succumbing early to Nick Krygios in Acapulco, Novak Djokovic asserted that tennis “is no longer my first priority anymore. … Since having my son Stefan, I have tried to become a better father and husband.” One week earlier, Djokovic was scolded by his wife Jelena during a live Facebook video for not telling her thank you for videotaping the segment.
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group added to its Tennis Channel holdings by buying Tennis Media for $8 million. The new acquisitions include Tennis Magazine and Tennis.com.
  • Madison Keys will make her 2017 debut at Indian Wells after recovering from left wrist surgery performed by the same surgeon at the Mayo Clinic who operated on Juan Martin Del Potro.

BACKHANDS

ATP TOUR: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Final: Andy Murray def. Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2

  • Murray survived seven match points in a second-set tiebreak against third-round foe Philipp Kohlschrieber of Germany, including one on a stunning and risky Murray drop shot. The tiebreaker matched the ATP record at 31 minutes, with Murray prevailing 6-7 (4), 7-6 (18), 6-1.
  • No.2 seed Stan Wawrinka was ousted in straight sets in the first round by Damir Dzumhur.
  • Russian teenager and qualifier Evgeny Donskoy shocked No.3 seed Roger Federer in the second round 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) after Federer squandered two match points in the second-set tiebreak and a 5-1 lead in the third-set tiebreak.
  • Verdasco, age 33, upset No.6 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round and No.4 seed Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals on the way to his second ATP final in two years.

ATP TOUR: Abierto Mexicano Telcel

Final: Sam Querrey def. Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (3)

  • Querrey, 40th in the world rankings, upended four top-20 stars in No.11 David Goffin, No.9 Dominique Thiem, No.17 Nicolas Krygios and No.6 Nadal. The result was his ninth ATP title and a jump to 26th in the rankings.
  • Krygios blasted past top seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (9), 7-5 in the quarterfinals, after Djokovic routed resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.

WTA TOUR: Abierto Mexicano Telcel

Final: Lesia Tsurenko def. Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 7-5

  • Top seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni retired in her semifinal, trailing Tsurenko 5-0.
  • Tsutenko took down each of the top three seeds in her march to the title. The 27-year-old Ukranian topped No.3 seed Jelena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals, followed by Lucia-Baroni and No.2 seed Mladenovic. She moved up to 41st in the rankings.
  • Mladenovic announced doubles partner Caroline Garcia had severed ties to focus on singles. The French duo are the reigning French Open champions and once ranked No.1 in the world.

WTA TOUR: Alta Malaysian WTA Open

Final: Ashleigh Barty def. Nao Hibino 6-3, 6-2

  • Top seed Elina Svitolina withdrew in the second round with a leg injury.
  • Barty, who returned to the tour less than a year ago, grabbed her first WTA title and a career-best ranking of No.92.

FOREHANDS

ATP TOUR: BNP Paribas Open

  • Site: Indian Wells, Calif.
  • Top seed: Novak Djokovic
  • Wild cards (main draw): Francis Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Stefan Kozlov, Reilly Opelka, Bjorn Frantangelo

WTA TOUR: BNP Paribas Open

  • Site: Indian Wells, Calif.
  • Top seed: Serena Williams
  • Wild cards (main draw): Bethanie Mattek Sands, Nicole Gibbs, Taylor Townsend, Kayla Day, Danielle Collins, Jennifer Brady, Irina Falconi, Donna Vekic

 

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