Andy Murray’s poor start to 2017 continued on Tuesday night as the world number one was knocked out of the Italian Open by Fabio Fognini.
Murray was eliminated by local favorite Fognini 6-2, 6-4 before a raucous crowd in his opening match as defending champion.
Fognini — Italy’s top player at No. 29 — frustrated the top-ranked Murray with drop shots and other aggressive play.
The unpredictable Fognini led 5-1 in the second set and nearly let Murray force a third set with a series of errors, but finally closed it out when he served for the match for a second time.
After completing the best year of his career last season, Murray has won just one of his eight tournaments this year.
Injuries have struck Murray following a stellar 2016, and his form has deserted him since the start of the new year.
Murray said he was confident of fixing the problems in his game following last week’s exit at the Madrid Open, but the British star is yet to find the answers.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.