Defending champion Andy Murray was eliminated by local favorite Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4 before a raucous crowd in his opening match at the Italian Open on Tuesday.
Italy’s top player at No. 29, Fognini frustrated the top-ranked Murray with drop shots and other aggressive play.
The unpredictable Fognini led 5-1 in the second set and nearly let Murray force a third set with a series of errors but finally closed it out when he served for the match for a second time.
After completing the best year of his career last season, Murray has won just one of his eight tournaments this year. Fans at the Foro Italico chanted for Fognini as if they were at a soccer match.