Andy Murray's Rome Masters defence is over with second-round loss to Fabio Fognini
Murray is beaten 6-2 6-4 by local favourite Fognini in just over 90 minutes
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 17/05/17 2:53pm
World No 1 Andy Murray was unable to cope with the unstoppable force of Fabio Fognini in front of a fervent atmosphere at the Foro Italico in Rome as his title defence was ended in stunning fashion.
Home-favourite Fognini was hoping to capitalise on the mediocre form of Britain's Murray on home soil, and did so with an inspirational 6-2 6-4 win.
"I'm really happy about my performance. I played really good tennis against Andy, but of course it's difficult because he's number one in the world and I was 6-2 5-1 up but I was thinking the match might go on because you never know with him," Fognini, who struck 23 forehand winners during the victory, told Sky Sports.
"Andy never stops running and he is the best defender in the world, so I'm really happy to beat him in Rome.
"Finally I won a good match because I've not always played my best match here in Rome, but I'm really happy about my performance."
Murray, who turned 30 on Monday, has not won a title since the Dubai Open in February and was eliminated in the second round of the Madrid Open last week, and his defence of the Rome Masters has now ended at the first hurdle.
He was out with an elbow injury earlier this year and is still playing his way back to full fitness ahead of next week's French Open.
The Scot acknowledged before the tournament that he could take nothing for granted after beating Novak Djokovic to win the title last year, but felt the force of Fognini from all parts of the court.
Fognini delighted the partisan home crowd under the floodlights when the world No 29 broke Murray in the opening game and went on to take a 3-0 lead before closing out the set 6-2 with a love service.
Murray found himself kept under pressure in the second set, when his serve failed again as Fognini opened up a 5-1 advantage.
There was a brief recovery by Murray as a break and a hold saw him trail 4-5.
Fognini, though, maintained his dominance to serve out victory and secure a first win over a world No 1 and will next face the winner of the clash between Alexander Zverev and Viktor Troicki.
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