Vasek Pospisil claimed the biggest win of his career in dramatic fashion on Saturday night at the BNP Paribas Open as he stunned World No. 1 Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the third round in Indian Wells.
The Canadian has endured a turbulent 12 months, seeing his position in the Emirates ATP Rankings drop to No. 135, having been as high as No. 25 three years ago. But under the guidance of new coach Mark Woodforde, whom he began working with in late 2016, Pospisil looked close to being back to his best as he held on to defeat Murray in one hour and 51 minutes.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Pospisil. "Obviously, it happened pretty quick. I feel like on a comeback trail. I had a tough year last year for many, many different reasons. I feel the last couple months I really found my hunger and my motivation to be back on the court training hard again.
"I felt like a big result was coming, because I believe in my abilities, but just kind of had to put the pieces together again. Obviously to beat the No. 1 player in the world is incredible. I mean, it's the biggest win of my career, and I'm just thrilled right now."
Having won three matches to reach this stage, Pospisil worked hard to stay with Murray in his fifth meeting with the Scot, whom he had never beaten before. The 26 year old fought back from a break down twice before breaking Murray in the ninth game and sealing the opener.
From 2-4 down in the first set, Pospisil won six straight games to open up a set-and-a-break lead, before Murray mounted a comeback. The Scot leveled in the fourth game, before forcing the second set into a tie-break. Pospisil came out attacking and earned four match points at 6-2. Murray didn’t concede without a fight, saving the first three match points, but Pospisil held his nerve to take his fourth opportunity with a forehand winner.
Pospisil won the doubles title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden two years ago (w/ Sock) and will look to reach the singles fourth round here for the first time when he faces Dusan Lajovic on Monday.
Elsewhere, Gael Monfils overcame a hot start from Barbados qualifier Darian King to record a 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory in just under two hours. The 10th-seeded Frenchman, who goes on to face John Isner, was a quarterfinalist in the desert last year (l. to Raonic) and is bidding to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.