Robert Kendrick’s latest foray on the ATP Tour ended just like his previous one in October: with a loss, albeit a competitive one. Michael Shabaz, ranked No. 459 and primarily a Futures Circuit competitor, defeated Kendrick (above) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the first round of qualification at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells late yesterday afternoon. Now 34-years old, Kendrick has essentially been retired since July of 2012, after retiring from a Challenger match in Panama. The 6-foot-3 serve-and-volleyer did make a cameo appearance as a wild card in the fall at the Sacramento Challenger, where he lost to Australian junior Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round. As after the October sojourn, no word on what the big guy is up to. Yesterday’s match showed that Kendrick can still serve big, volley well, and thump the forehand. Taking nothing away from Shabaz, it was Kendrick’s lack of match play that led to his downfall. Shabaz started strong and played solid throughout the first set, getting the only break in the third game. Rust was apparent in Kendrick’s game, as the former world No. 69 played a bit tentatively and failed to win a point on his second serve (0/6). No problem on his first serve though, as the Californian won 16 of 16 points on his first delivery. Kendrick came out like gangbusters in the second set, virtually blowing Shabaz, formerly a University of Virginia collegiate star, off the court. With breaks in the second and fourth games, Kendrick raced to a 5-0 lead before Shabaz finally held to avoid a bagel. Shabaz steadied in the third set and got the only break in the eighth game. Kendrick again had trouble with his second serve, which hurt his chances. On the day, Kendrick won 90 percent of his first service points, but just 38 percent of his second. He served 11 aces. Where and if Kendrick makes another stealth appearance, who knows.
Kendrick Falls to Shabaz at Indian Wells Qualies
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