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Fish Sends Murray Crashing Out; Federer Happy Just To Advance

Miami, USA

Mardy Fish© Getty ImagesMardy Fish fired 10 aces en route to victory.

With his serve firing on all cylinders, Mardy Fish sent defending champion and third seed Andy Murray crashing out of the Sony Ericsson Open Saturday. Fish fired 10 aces and won 82 percent of points on his first serve to hand Murray his first opening-round loss in 11 months, just one day after second seed Novak Djokovic was upset by Belgian Olivier Rochus.

“No doubt [it’s one of the best wins of my career].  He's a Grand Slam finalist this year already and his results speak for themselves,” Fish said.  “It's a great win. Certainly had to serve well, and I did when I needed to.  Got me out of some jams there late in the match. Had I think three break points against, and hit aces on every one of them or unreturnables on every one of them. Little lucky in that aspect, as well.”

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Murray, who led 3-1 40/0 in the first set, paid tribute to Fish’s clutch serving, but added that his own game fell short of expectations.

“Mardy served well when he needed to, especially the second set when he was down break points he served well.  But I just wasn't very good today, and I'm gonna need to get a lot better… if you leave the ball short in the middle of the court, it's very easy for guys to attack and be aggressive. You don't get away with playing that way against guys that can serve well that are difficult to break and play very aggressive on the return."

Fish was part of a bumper day session that attracted 18,667 fans - the second highest day-session attendance in tournament history.

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Roger Federer conceded just four points on his first serve while breaking Nicolas Lapentti three times in a 6-3, 6-3 win in front of 14,403 night-session fans Saturday night. “Crowds were amazing today," Federer said.  "For the first round and to have a sort of a sellout crowd and a record day, it's nice to be part of it.”

Federer, who advanced to a meeting with Frenchman Florent Serra, is chasing a third Sony Ericsson Open title, following back-to-back victories in 2005-06. Federer, who won his 16th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, is looking to clinch a record-equaling 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title here in Miami.

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Although Federer got the job done, he conceded that it was not a particularly clean performance. His forehand was noticeably off and he miss-hit a number of balls. “I thought the ball was flying quite a bit…  All of a sudden I was trying to generate pace on the ball and the thing would fly off my racquet like I couldn't believe.  So I had to play a bit more safe and not go for the lines as much.

“I was able to have a good record on break point conversions, and I think that's what won me the match today," he said.

Having seen Murray and, the previous day, second seed Djokovic bow out, Federer said that he was just happy to emerge with the win. “Worries me as well being the top seed, seeing high seeds fall out of the tournament.  I haven't even started playing yet, and there's two big names out of the tournament already."

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