- ATP Tour
Abject Murray wiped off court by Wawrinka
Andy Murray's losing record against Stanislas Wawrinka on clay courts continued on Thursday as the Brit crashed out of the Monte Carlo Masters in straight sets.
Murray has never beaten Wawrinka on the red dirt, losing all three of their encounters on his least favoured surface despite an 8-5 head-to-head record. His latest loss lacked fight and focus, winning 31 of 87 points as the Swiss triumphed 6-1 6-2.
On Wednesday the major talking point of Murray's second round match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin had been the time warning he received from the umpire - which momentarily disturbed his focus. However, 24 hours on, the world No. 2 had nobody to blame but himself for a truly sub-standard performance.
Murray's start promised only good things, with the second point of the match packed with as much quality as any other, won by Murray when he passed his rival en route to an opening service hold.
Wawrinka then had to save two break points in the next game, but that was as good as it got for the Brit.
The rot started in the third game as Murray fell to 0-40 before sinking an unforced error into the net to gift Wawrinka the first break. Worse was to follow when, in Murray's next service game, he opted to leave a ball that fell in before coughing up a double-fault as Wawrinka waltzed to 4-1.
For how faultless Murray had been in his second-round outing, he was equally abject in the third, suffering a third straight break as his opponent swept to the first set on a run of six consecutive games.
Victory for the Scot would have brought up win No. 400 on the ATP Tour, yet that prospect looked increasingly unlikely as Wawrinka breezed through his opening service of the second set in 54 seconds.
The world No. 17 deserved credit for his stunning cross-court backhand, which consistently kept his rival on the back foot, as well as his variety from the baseline. But this was not Murray in full gear, and another misjudged backhand into the net forced him to save another break chance to get to 2-2.
Another followed when Wawrinka fired a forehand down the line, and this time Murray failed to stave off the threat as his volley went long for 4-2. Unforced errors by now were coming off Murray's racket at will, and Wawrinka closed out the match with a fifth break, leaving Murray to exit the court to a chorus of jeers.
Wawrinka now meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals, after the Frenchman made light work of Jurgen Melzer. Tsonga required 57 minutes on court as he swept aside Melzer 6-4 6-0 despite a poor first-serves-in percentage of 42%.