Struggling world No. 1 Andy Murray was ousted in the first round in Rome on Tuesday by Fabio Fognini. File photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo
Andy Murray remains the No. 1-ranked player in the world, but he has not played like it recently. On Tuesday he suffered another setback, losing to Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 6-4 in his opening match of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Fognini hit 23 forehand winners on his way to becoming the first Italian to beat a world No. 1 since 2007, when Filippo Volandri defeated Roger Federer 6-2, 6-4 in the third round, also in Rome.
Murray, the top seed who received a first-round bye, won this event last year without the loss of a set.
But he has lost three of his last four tournament matches and has not reached the finals in any of his last five tournaments. Last week, Murray lost in the round of 16 in the Madrid Open to 59th-ranked Borna Coric.
The 29-year-old Fognini, who is ranked 29th, jumped on top early, racing to a 4-0 lead. He then held his serve at love to finish the first set in front of the loud, packed crowd.
Fognini bolted out to a 5-1 lead in the second set before Murray mounted a bit of a comeback.
Second-seeded Novak Djokovic struggled a bit in the first set of his match but got past British qualifier Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (2), 6-2 in a second-round match.
Djokovic, who is coming off a semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal last week in Madrid, had his serve broken at the start of the match, but quickly recovered and outplayed Bedene in the tiebreaker.
The 29-year-old Djokovic dominated the second set and finished off the victory on his fourth match-point opportunity.
"A little bit of a slower start, but Bedene is the kind of player that gives you good rhythm," Djokovic said. "I had some good exchanges, some good games with rallies and it felt right, especially in the second set. I played a great tiebreak. Served very well when I needed to. I just wish that I had started a little bit sharper. But hopefully the next one will be good."
Djokovic's next match will be against either 15th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta or Roberto Bautista Agut.
Carreno Busta, of Spain, beat Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3 in his first-round match. Bautista Agut, also of Spain, eliminated lucky loser Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2.
Dolgopolov replaced Aussie Nick Kyrgios in the main draw after Kyrgios withdrew because of a hip injury.
Frenchman Benoit Paire advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over countryman Nicolas Mahut. Paire will now face third-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who lost to Paire last week in Madrid.
American John Isner recorded 21 aces in his second-round match, a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) victory over German Florian Mayer.
German Alexander Zverev, the No. 16 seed, had to go three sets to eliminate South African qualifier Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours, 25 minutes. He will next face Serbia's Viktor Troicki.
No. 13-seeded American Jack Sock rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third set to beat Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. That earned Sock a match against Jiri Vesely.
Several milestones were achieved Tuesday.
German Tommy Haas, 39, became the oldest winner in Rome since 45-year-old Giuseppe Merlo in 1973. Haas defeated American Ernesto Escobedo, a lucky loser, 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (1). Haas' next opponent is fifth-seeded Milos Raonic.
Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic became the 25th player in ATP World Tour history to record 600 match wins when the 12th seed rolled to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Argentina's Carlos Berlocq.
David Ferrer of Spain became just the 13th player in ATP World Tour history to reach the 700-match-wins plateau by beating Feliciano Lopez of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round. He joins Nadal (840 wins) as the only Spaniards to reach the 700-match-wins mark.
"The number indicates that I have been a very consistent player over many years, and many matches," Ferrer told ATPWorldTour.com. "It's a very big figure, very difficult to achieve. I am very proud and humbled by the achievement. If someone had told me at the start of my career that I would be in this situation, I wouldn't have believed it."
Ninth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, to earn a third-round match against sixth-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Ryan Harrison of the United States.