Andy Murray continued to struggle on Tuesday in Rome. In his opening match of his title defense, the World No. 1 was dismissed rather routinely by local Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4.
“I wasn’t creating enough chances on my own,” said Murray who won last year’s title without losing a set. “Normally during matches your opponent might give you a few opportunities with some errors, and obviously you hope to create a few yourself. That certainly wasn’t the case today. The only chance I really got was when he was making errors.”
Murray is now just 4-4 on the clay season and has just one semifinal in his last five events. And his confidence can’t be high heading into the French Open where he’s defending final points.
“I felt like after Barcelona I would start to play better, and the last two weeks have certainly not been as good as Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Even the match I lost in Monte Carlo, I did actually feel like I played some good tennis,” Murray said. “The last couple of weeks have definitely been a struggle and a long way from where I’d like to be.
“But the last few weeks, there is no reason for it from my end. I’m just not playing good tennis, and I need to try and work out how to turn that around. I believe I will.”
Murray’s compatriot Aljaz Bedene was on earlier he was up early on against Novak Djokovic before the 4-time Rome champion found his form with a 7-6(2), 6-2 victory.
“A little bit of a slower start, but Bedene is the kind of player that gives you good rhythm. I had some good exchanges, some good games with rallies and it felt right, especially in the second set. I played a great tie- break. Served very well when I needed to,” Djokovic said. “I just wish that I had started a little bit sharper. But hopefully the next one will be good.”
On the day, Murray was the only seed to fall. Tomas Berdych collected his 600th career match win beating Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-4 also in the second round. Marin Cilic ousted Ryan Harrison and David Goffin took out Fernando Verdasco in three sets.
Alexander Zverev, Jack Sock and Pablo Carreno Busta were first round winners.
Former Top 5 David Ferrer won his 700th match by upending countryman Feliciano Lopez.
On Wednesday, 7-time champion Rafael Nadal opens play against countryman Nicolas Almagro. Ferrer faces Kei Nishikori who is coming off a wrist injury from Madrid. And for the second straight week Stan Wawrinka meets good friend Benoit Paire.
Juan Martin del Potro is also in action against Kyle Edmund and Dominic Thiem meets Pablo Cuevas in a rematch of their Madrid semifinal.
WEDNESDAY ROME SCHEDULE
CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
ATP –  K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – [Q] N. Almagro (ESP) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
WTA –  A. Kerber (GER) vs [Q] A. Kontaveit (EST)
Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP –  S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs B. Paire (FRA)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – [Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs  G. Muguruza (ESP)
NEXT GEN ARENA start 11:00 am
WTA –  E. Svitolina (UKR) vs A. Cornet (FRA)
Not Before 12:00 noon
ATP – K. Edmund (GBR) vs J. del Potro (ARG)
WTA – L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs  V. Williams (USA)
ATP –  D. Thiem (AUT) vs P. Cuevas (URU)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [Q] J. Struff (GER) vs S. Querrey (USA)
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