In the opening round of the Monte Carlo Masters, Andy Murray was eliminated early after falling to Alex de Minaur. The Australian 14th seed defeated British number three Murray, who is rated 57th in the world, 6-1, 6-3.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray was competing on the clay in Monaco for the first time since 2017. Before that, British No. 1 Cameron Norrie was also eliminated in the first round, but Jack Draper triumphed after coming back from injury.
Murray made 26 unforced mistakes in total compared to De Minaur’s eight, who will play Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round. De Minaur had lost his first two Masters 1,000 matches this year in Indian Wells and Miami, but he turned it around with his third ATP Tour triumph over Murray.
While it was both players’ first time playing on clay in 2023, Murray played far from at his best, losing the first four games while De Minaur breezed to the first set in 35 minutes on his least favourite surface.
After an argument with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes early in the second set over his decision to continue to play after Murray’s cap fell off mid-point, the Scot further lost his cool and was broken in the following game while committing several unforced mistakes. De Minaur then went on to easily win the match.
Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina defeated No. 13 in the world ranked Norrie 6-3, 6-4 earlier on Monday. Norrie felt uneasy throughout his match and had 18 unforced mistakes compared to only eight victories.
When Norrie, 27, missed a forehand in the ninth game of the second set, world no. 33 Cerundolo, 24, made the crucial break. Norrie began the season with a record of 21 victories in 25 matches, but he also lost his opening match at the Miami Open last month after falling to Gregoire Barrere of France.
Fellow Brit Draper defeated Argentine Sebastian Baez 6-3, 7-5, to advance to the second round and face Polish 10-seed Hubert Hurkacz.
Last month at the Indian Wells tournament, Draper, 21, had to end his match with world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the fourth round due to an abdominal injury. Then, to avoid making the situation worse, he withdrew from the Miami Open.
In Monte Carlo, he had a difficult run against Baez, but he won by saving 11 of the 12 break points he faced and taking three of his own four opportunities.