Andy Murray tumbled out of the Madrid Open after losing his third round match with Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets. World number four Murray, who had never before faced his Brazilian opponent, was beaten 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 30 minutes. Murray had three break points in the first set but failed to take any of them, while Bellucci boasted a 100 per cent record as he broke the Scot three times, once in the final game of the first set and twice in the second set. Bellucci, the world number 36, will now play seventh seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.
Murray came into the match on the back of a three-set victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon in the second round last night. That was Murray’s first competitive singles outing since reaching the semi-finals in Monte Carlo last month, having missed the subsequent Barcelona Open due to an elbow problem that hindered him in Monaco. Today’s encounter was moved to the Manolo Santana centre court after the scheduled tie for that court – the much-anticipated showdown between top seed Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro – failed to materialise after the Argentinian pulled out with a hip injury.
Unlike yesterday’s match when both Murray and Simon broke each other in the opening two games, the first two games today went with serve. Murray had the first chance to take early control of the set in the third when he created two break points at 15-40, but hard-hitting left-hander Bellucci responded by winning the next four points to hold. Murray, having held to make it 2-2, also fashioned a break point on Bellucci’s next service game but he again failed to take his opportunity and in that game the frustrated fourth seed also received a warning from the umpire for swearing. The next four games went comfortably to serve, leaving Bellucci 5-4 ahead going into the 10th. And it was that game where Bellucci made the crucial breakthrough, creating his first break point of the match and immediately capitalising on it as Murray’s backhand went wide to leave the Brazilian celebrating. The first five games of the second set passed without too many problems for either player but Bellucci made the vital breakthrough in the sixth after Murray had surrendered a position of power at 40-15 up. Having battled back to deuce, Bellucci then saw Murray twice overhit shots to take the game and a 5-2 lead. Bellucci held his next service game before sealing the match by breaking Murray for a second time in the set. The 23-year-old had two match points but needed only one of them as he dumped the British number one out of the tournament.