Madrid Open: Murray bows to Croatian; Djokovic survives

David Ferrer of Spain returns the ball to Kei Nishikori of Japan during a Madrid Open tennis tournament match in Madrid Thursday

David Ferrer of Spain returns the ball to Kei Nishikori of Japan during a Madrid Open tennis tournament match in Madrid Thursday

"You can lose matches sometimes, but the manner of today's loss was disappointing".

Andy Murray's latest defeat has him anxious.

The Briton, who was thrashed by the Croatian by an even wider margin in the Dubai Championships in 2015, performed poorly in the first set, losing three service games and looking increasingly frustrated.

Nishikori, who beat Djokovic in the 2014 U.S. Open semifinals, was playing in his first tournament since March.

"That makes this match much bigger for me".

"I definitely think I need to be concerned about that defeat", he acknowledged. If a gameplan isn't working it's not my coach's fault because I always go over the gameplan.

Murray's form is in stark contrast to this point previous year when, then the perennial number two in the rankings behind Novak Djokovic, he embarked on a phenomenal seven-month run to propel himself to the top of the rankings pile.

Andy Murray admits that he "was not focused enough" in his Madrid Open meeting with Borna Coric, having suffered a shock straight-sets defeat to the youngster.

"I couldn't imagine this when I woke up this morning, I always believed but I wasn't sure how I was going to play, but in the end I played as I had dreamed", Coric told Television Espanola.

The Scot enjoyed a superb clay-court season a year ago as he reached the final in Madrid and won his first Italian Open title, but he will now head to Rome to defend his crown having experienced his worst start to a season since 2008.

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Djokovic was dominant on serve throughout, facing only one break point in the opening game of the second set.

Djokovic won in Doha to start the year but failed to make it past the quarterfinals in the following four tournaments he played since then.

"That's no reason for how I played the last few weeks".

World number two Novak Djokovic came through a tricky second set against Spain's Feliciano Lopez to book his place in the quarter-finals.

"Things can turn around quickly in tennis ... but you need to have the right sort of ideas, correct ideas, understand why you're in the position you're in. I wasn't building any points really". However, when you do miss a period of time, getting back into playing matches, the most important thing is to play.

Murray was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Coric, ranked 59th in the world, on Thursday.

"Novak is someone that I don t have good record (against)", said the Japanese.

"After one match of the quallies where I lost and I was booking my flight back to home", said Coric.

Twenty-year-old German Alexander Zverev continued his fine form with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 11th seed Tomas Berdych to set up a quarterfinals against Pablo Cuevas, who beat Benoit Paire 7-5, 0-6, 6-1.

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