Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Murray crashes out of Monte Carlo

Top-ranked Andy Murray threw away a 4-0 lead in the deciding set of his third-round match on Thursday as 15th-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas won 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion, was also sent packing when he lost to Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-4 but nine-times champion Rafael Nadal crushed birthday boy Alexander Zverev for the loss of only two games.

Later Thursday, two-time champion Novak Djokovic played No. 13 Pablo Carreno Busta.

Murray was playing only his second match since returning from a five-week layoff after an elbow injury.

Andy Murray's first tournament back on clay came to an ignominious end when he let slip a 4-0 lead in the decider to lose to world number 24 Albert Ramos-Vinolas. But sitting here, being 4-Love up in the third, I haven't lost many matches like that in my career.

After each man took a set each, Murray endured a awful capitulation in the decider. Cuevas hit a sweet forehand victor down the line on the next point and raised his arms after beating Wawrinka in their first-ever meeting. "When you're not at your top level, he knows what to do". Cilic served just 45 percent but won 17 of 20 first-serve points in the second set. It drew jeers from the center court crowd basking in the Mediterranean sun.

Cilic has won three of four meetings with the 29-year-old Ramos-Vinolas, including a straight-sets victory in the second round of the 2016 Australian Open. "Before the match, I thought it was going to be a big test for me".

Zverev will be disappointed with his showing and gifted his opponent too many cheap points, but Nadal's speed and precision was too good for the world number 20. "(It) was probably little bit tough for him to accept the way the result was going".

Chasing a 10th title here, Nadal next faces unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who eased past Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-0.

The world No 1 has endured a hard return to action in the Principality this week which ended with Ramos-Vinolas' 2-6 6-7 7-5 victory.

Meanwhile, Jamie Murray made a winning start in the last 16 of the men's doubles, joining forces with Bruno Soares to beat Tommy Haas and Treat Huey 6-3 6-2.

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