U.S. Open champion Andy Murray and previously surging Argentine star Juan Martin del Potro were third-round upset victims Thursday at the $3.15 million BNP Paribas Masters, the final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the year.
The third-seeded Murray blew a match point before succumbing to 6-foot-8 Pole Jerzy Janowicz 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 at Bercy's Palais Omnisports. The impressive qualifier Janowicz launched 22 aces past Murray, who fell in 2 hours, 25 minutes on Day 4.
Murray served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but, instead, went on to lose the stanza via tiebreak.
The Olympic gold medalist and Wimbledon runner-up Murray suffered a loss for a third time in the last month after holding a match point.
Second-seeded Novak Djokovic was a second-round loser in Paris on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, wild card and veteran French crowd favorite Michael Llodra upended the seventh-seeded del Potro 6-4, 6-3 in only 69 minutes. A weary del Potro was fresh off his back-to-back titles in Vienna and Basel. He stunned Roger Federer in the final at the Swiss Indoors event in Federer's native Basel last week.
Del Potro, like Murray, will be part of next week's elite eight-player field at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer was able to advance to the quarters after outlasting No. 16 Stanislas Wawrinka in three sets, with the star Spaniard coming away with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 decision.
Fifth-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych also avoided an upset by coming from behind to beat tall South African Kevin Anderson, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Anderson unleashed 15 aces in a losing effort.
"The way that Kevin started was incredible. I had no chance, everything went on his side," Berdych said. "There were not many chances for me but I still had the hope and belief I could make it."
The former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych was the Paris Masters champ back in 2005.
Sixth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga qualified for the Tour Finals with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3) victory over 11th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. Tsonga popped 10 aces in a tight match where there were no service breaks.
Tsonga was the Paris Masters champion in 2008 and lost to Federer in last year's finale. He will take on Ferrer in Friday's quarters.
Eighth-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic held off ninth-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, while American Sam Querrey, who ousted Djokovic on Wednesday, doused 14th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 (7-1). Tipsarevic has also qualified for next week's prestigious World Tour Finals, which will also feature Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Ferrer, Berdych, del Potro, and Tsonga.
Tipsarevic will battle Janowicz on Friday, while Querrey will take on Llodra.
Also, Frenchman Gilles Simon reached the quarterfinals via walkover when 15th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori pulled out of the event due to an ankle injury. Simon should have his hands full with Berdych on Friday.
The newest Paris Masters champ will pocket $620,000.