Russian obstacle still a hurdle too high
Ernests failed to exact revenge upon Russia’s Igor Andreev for his Australian Open loss by falling in straight sets in the second round of Indian Wells.
Both men recorded a poor service percentage, with Ernests making only 48% of first serves and Andreev a fractionally better 51%.
Separating the man from the boy in this match were break points: Ernests offered a shockingly high 10 break opportunities, while enjoying only three break points on Andreev’s serve.
Having been broken early in the first set, Ernests converted his second break point in the sixth game to level at 3-all. However, Andreev promptly reclaimed the advantage by breaking again in the following game for a 4*:3 lead.
Ernests’s woes continued in the second set as he was broken to love in the opening game, and only managed to rescue himself from a 0:3* deficit after saving another two break points in his next service game.
In a carbon copy of the first set, Ernests gave himself false hope as he broke Andreev back for 3*:3, only to lose serve again in the very next game.
His frustration boiling over, Ernests threw away his racquet in a fit of pique and earned himself a point penalty from the chair umpire.
He was unable to recover from the handicap, leaving Andreev to serve out the match comfortably for a berth in the third round.
As if compounding Ernests’s misery, a quirk in the newly-introduced 2009 scoring system will see him record a 15-point net loss in his ranking points, despite him defending his second-round finish from last year.
At the start of the year, existing ranking points from 2008 were doubled for each player and the points award system for tournaments were revamped to reflect the re-labelled ATP tournaments. (ATP rankings FAQ)
A first-round win in Indian Wells last year gifted Ernests with 20 ranking points, which was increased to 40 when the 2009 ranking system was first implemented.
However, an uneven rate of inflation in the tournament points system saw the eventual winner’s ranking points jackpot increased from 500 to 1000, while second-round losers enjoy a marginal increase to 25 points.
Ten days still remain before the start of Ernests’s next event in Miami, where he also defends 40 points from last year. The draw will be announced on March 23rd and most of the world’s Top 100 players are slated to appear there.
INDIAN WELLS R2: (22) I. Andreev (RUS) def. E. Gulbis (LAT) 6:4 6:4