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Italian Open: Andy Murray eliminated by home player Fabio Fognini

17 May 2017

Andy Murray has been upset in his opening match at the Italian Open, continuing his poor form this season.

"I played really good tennis against Andy, but of course it's hard 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.

The partisan home crowd were delighted when world No. 29 Fognini 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. The Scot did threaten a comeback when reducing the second-set score to 5-4, but the Italian served the match out at the second time of asking. The Italian was inspired by raucous home support that included the Roma footballing legend Francesco Totti and won 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 34min.

The Scot acknowledged before the tournament that he could take nothing for granted after beating Novak Djokovic to win the title a year ago, but felt the force of Fognini from all parts of the court.

"Movement the last two weeks has not been good", Murray said.

The French Open starts in less than two weeks.

Fans at the Foro Italico chanted for Fognini as if they were at a soccer match, and organizers blasted Neopolitan folk music over the stadium's loudspeaker after his win. Fabio looked better on the court from the very first point, hitting the ball early and imposing his shots, keeping Murray off balance and avoiding easy errors that could destruct his rhythm.

Flavia Pennetta, Fognini's wife and the 2015 US Open champion, is expecting the couple's first child any day.

"My tournament could end any moment so I've got to enjoy this for now", Fognini said.

Experienced Spaniard Ferrer racked up his 700th win on the AT World Tour with a 4-6 6-3 6-1 success against compatriot Feliciano Lopez.

Also, fifth-seeded Johanna Konta defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-0; Ekaterina Makarova eliminated Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-1; and qualifier Catherine Bellis beat Misako Doi 6-4, 7-6 (6).

German youngster Alexander Zverev was among those to progress to the third round, the 20-yaer-old earning a hard-fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over South Africa's Kevin Anderson.