Andy Murray threw away a 4-0 lead in the deciding set of his third-round match against 15th-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas to crash out of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
The world No 1 has endured a difficult return to action in the Principality this week which ended with Ramos-Vinolas’ 2-6 6-7 7-5 victory.
“I’m disappointed to lose from the position that I was in,” said Murray. “Being four love up in the third, I haven’t lost many matches like that in my career.”
An elbow injury had sidelined Murray since early March and, after missing Great Britain’s Davis Cup defeat to France, he debuted this year on the clay courts with an arduous win over Gilles Muller on Wednesday.
But his progress would be scuppered just 24 hours later after defeat to the 15th seed in the first Masters 1000 of the year on clay.
Murray was broken seven times during a see-saw encounter with the clay-court specialist and was leading 4-0 in the final set before he suffered a spectacular collapse.
Ramos-Vinolas rallied back to take the next four games to level the decider and despite the Scot taking the ninth to go 5-4 up, the 15th seed closed out the match with three successive games to seal an unlikely victory.