Roger Federer will return to second in the ATP standings next week after Andy Murray collapsed to a 6-1, 6-2 third-round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
Murray committed 24 unforced errors as he lost to Federer’s Swiss compatriot, seeded 13th, in 58 minutes.
Top seed Novak Djokovic rallied past Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Murray, a quarterfinalist here a year ago, went nil for two on break points and lost his own serve five times.
“I made a lot of mistakes, 24 unforced errors is far too many. That’s a set’s worth. That’s where half the points went,” said Murray, who had gone to No.2 on the strength of his win in the Miami Masters.
“I’ve played some good tournaments here. But, yeah, it does take me time to feel comfortable on the surface.
“I need matches against top players to see what’s going wrong and what’s going right, things I need to work on to get better.
“Normally towards the end of the clay court season, I start to feel better with my game and I’ve had some good results, but at the start I have struggled a little bit.”
Rafael Nadal stepped up his campaign for an historic ninth straight title at the event as the third seed won his 44th match in a row at the venue with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of German Philip Kohlschreiber. The Spanish great lifted his record at the seaside Country Club to 46-1 at a tournament where he suffered his lone defeat in 2003 against Guillermo Coria.
Nadal will next line up in the quarterfinals on Friday against Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Germany’s Florian Mayer with an identical 6-2, 6-4 scoreline.
Italian Fabio Fognini sprung a surprise on fourth seed Tomas Berdych, dismissing the Czech 6-4, 6-2. French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga thrilled his home fans as he overwhelmed Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-0.
Leander Paes and Jurgen Melzer advanced to the doubles quarterfinals beating Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 6-2, 6-3.
The results: Third round: Novak Djokovic bt Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Stanislas Wawrinka bt Andy Murray 6-1, 6-2; Fabio Fognini bt Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2; Grigor Dimitrov bt Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-4; Rafael Nadal bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-4; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-0; Richard Gasquet bt Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-4.
Second round: Andy Murray bt Eduardo Roger-Vasselin 6-1, 6-4; Juan Monaco bt Ernests Gulbis 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. Doubles: Leander Paes & Jurgen Melzer bt Mahesh Bhupathi & Rohan Bopanna 6-2, 6-3.