Rome – Andy Murray pulled out of the Rome Masters on his 26th birthday on Wednesday as the Scot succumbed to back and hip pain during a second-round clash with Marcel Granollers.
Having lost the first set 6-3, the third seed fought back from 4-1 down in the second set to win a tie-break.
But after levelling the match on his second set point, he promptly went to the net to shake hands.
Murray, ranked second behind Novak Djokovic in the world, had been seen by the trainer for on-court hip and back treatment after the third game of the second set.
The defeat marked the second straight year in Rome that Murray, a 2011 semi-finalist, has gone out early, following a third round exit a year ago.
The Scot came to the court with a 2-0 margin over his opponent but never looked to be on his game.
Murray now heads to the French Open, starting a week from Sunday, with just three clay wins this season under his belt, alongside as many defeats.
Murray was joined on the sidelines on a cloudy day at the Foro Italico by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with Polish underdog Jerzy Janowizc ripping off his shirt in celebration seconds after clinching the 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) win over the eighth seed.
Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov got a free trip into the third round as Madrid finalist Stanislas Wawrinka quit before their meeting with a thigh injury which also bothered him last week.
In women's play, former Roland Garros winner and fifth seed Li Na won a battle with Chinese countrywoman Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-1 while Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur, the 2010 beaten finalist in Paris, beat China's Peng Shuai 7-6 (7/5), 6-0.
Russian 12th seed Maria Kirilenko beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-3, 6-1. The 13th-seeded Roberta Vinci kept her home public happy as she beat compatriot Natassja Burnett 6-1, 6-4. Slovak 14th seed Dominika Cibulkova put out US qualifier Melanie Oudin 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. – Sapa-AFP