By Nigel Graber
Apple’s iPhone features an app called Stick Tennis in which an unbeatable figure called Willy Beacher plays improbable backcourt tennis. Willy Beacher showed up tonight in Rome in the guise of Fabio Fognini to thrash Andy Murray 6-2 6-4.

The Scot, defending his Internazionali BNL d'Italia Masters title here, was down 0-4 in the blink of an eye, the Italian pinging balls to the corners at lightning speed in front of his home crowd.

Murray wasn’t helped by some passive play that saw him bunting the ball down the middle in the hope that Fognini might miss. Although the world number one rallied with a couple of service holds, the Italian ran the set out comfortably.

Early jitters from Fognini at the start of the second were soon replac...
By Joe Bailey
Andy Murray's disappointing season continued with a 6-3 6-3 defeat in the Madrid Masters third round at the hands of lucky loser Borna Coric.

Following defeats in Monte Carlo and Barcelona to players he would have eaten for breakfast in 2016, Murray's concerning form after injury does not appear to be improving yet.

Murray was broken three times by the young Croatian in the first set.

The telling stat was the 35% second serve point wins that Murray posted, despite landing 62% of first serves and winning 69% of points when he did.

Murray only managed one break of the Coric serve overall and was broken once himself in the second set on the way to another early tournament exit.

Murray now has only Rome in his sch...
By Nigel Graber
Andy Murray got his Mutua Madrid Masters campaign off to a winning start today with a 6-4 6-3 defeat of 104th-ranked Marius Copil.

The Romanian, a controversial wildcard care of compatriot Ion Tiriac, who is tournament director, fought gamely in the first set but was outclassed when it mattered.

The Scot broke late in the first set and from there he never looked likely to relinquish his lead, although the 26-year-old journeyman looked solid enough.

Murray will be especially pleased with his serve, which has looked sub-par on the clay in recent weeks when losing to Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Dominic Thiem. The Brit faced no break points throughout the match, and set up four break points.

At the end, Murray was quick to...
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By Nigel Graber
Andy Murray lost in the semi-finals of the 2017 Barcelona Open after going down 6-2 3-6 6-4 to Dominic Thiem. The world number one was broken three times in losing the first set in 34 minutes.

Although Murray battled back to level the match, Austrian world number nine Thiem won in two hours and 13 minutes to set up a final against Rafael Nadal.

The day before, the Scot had gained revenge for the previous week’s defeat by Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Monte Carlo by beating the Spaniard to reach the last four. Murray dug deep to claim a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory in a minute shy of three hours.

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By Joe Bailey
Andy Murray overcame Feliciano Lopez today, 6-4 6-4, to reach the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open.

This was Murray's first match of the week following a first round bye and then Bernard Tomic's withdrawal gifting a second round walkover.

However, given that Murray took a late wildcard opportunity here with the aim of sharpening his overall game following injury, the delayed entry to the action in Catalonia would likely have been a source of frustration rather than satisfaction.

Murray had beaten Lopez in all ten of their encounters on the ATP tour prior to today's clash, a run which stretches back to the Washington DC hardcourts in the summer of 2006.

The Spanish veteran would not break the hoodoo today, after Mur...
By Joe Bailey
Andy Murray suffered a disappointing defeat to Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-2 2-6 5-7, in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.

Murray revealed afterwards that the elbow injury that had kept him out of the Miami Masters was still troubling him and his struggles on serve were testament to it.

While the scorelines in the first two sets were a mirror image, Murray looked to have shaken off any danger of an upset by jumping out to 4-0 up in the decider.

However, with Ramos-Vinolas claiming seven breaks of serve in the match overall, the Spaniard was able to claw back Murray's advantage and defeat the world number one.

Murray therefore fails to match his semi-final performance of last year in Monaco and has hin...
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