Andy Murray surrendered a 4-0 lead in the decisive third set on his way to defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday as the world number one’s 2017 season hit another setback.
Murray suffered a shock third-round loss to Spain’s 15th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in more than two and a half hours.
Ramos-Vinolas toppled the Scottish top seed on his second match point to progress to the quarterfinals on the Monaco clay for the first time at the French Open warm-up event.
Murray, a three-time Monte Carlo semifinalist, raced away with the first set, before Ramos-Vinolas found his feet to level the score, then neutralised a 4-0 Murray lead in the third set.
Ramos-Vinolas then edged ahead, with Murray saving a match point in the final game but the reigning Wimbledon and Olympic champion missed on a drop shot to hand a shock win to his opponent.
Murray had returned from a month out with an elbow injury to launch his clay court season with a gruelling 7-5, 7-5 defeat of Gilles Muller in Wednesday’s second round tie.
The 29-year-old was making his first ATP appearance since a second-round loss to Vasek Pospisil at Indian Wells on March 12. His quest for a first Monte Carlo title goes on, one of only two Masters 1000 events he has never won.
Victory for Vinolas-Ramos marked the first time the 29-year-old from Barcelona, who reached last year’s French Open quarterfinals, had got the better of a world number one.