World No1 Sir Andy Murray’s underwhelming build-up to the French Open continued as he was dumped out of the Italian Open second round by home favourite Fabio Fognini.
Defending champion Murray lost in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, to Fognini, who is ranked No29 in the global standings. Defeat came a matter of days after his defeat to Croatia’s Borna Coric in the last 16 of the Madrid Open.
Since returning from an elbow injury last month, Murray has also crashed out of the Monte Carlo Masters at the last-16 stage and the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open.
Such form is a far cry from 12 months when he entered the French Open, which this year begins on 28 May, having won the Italian Open and reached the final and last-four of the Madrid Masters and Monte Carlo Masters respectively.
Fellow Briton Aljaz Bedene also departed the men’s singles after losing 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 to former world No1 Novak Djokovic, who dominated a first-set tie-break before comfortably winning the second set.
British No1 Johanna Konta, meanwhile, gave herself an early birthday present and boosted her clay-court form by powering past Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-0 in the women’s draw. Konta turns 26 today.