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 World No. 2 behind Novak Djokovic, had been seen by the trainer for on-court hip and back treatment after the third game of the second set.
Murray said the injury pullout was a serious matter. “I’d be very surprised if I was playing in Paris,” he said, adding that the lower back problem which has dogged him for almost 18 months had gotten worse over the last months.
“I felt pain today, the same as in Madrid. I took a few days off after Madrid. I hit yesterday and played some points. But I was still sore today. We will have to wait and see on Paris. I’ll try to make a decision after the next five days or so. I need some days off for it to hopefully settle down.”
Murray was joined on the sidelines on a cloudy day at the Foro Italico by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with Polish underdog Jerzy Janowicz ripping off his shirt in celebration seconds after clinching the 6-4, 7-6(5) win over the eighth seed.
Sania-Bethanie pair advances
Sania Mirza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands breezed into the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s doubles event with an easy 6-1, 6-3 win over Shuko Aoyama and Liga Dekmeijere.
Important results: Women: Second round : Dominika Cibulkova bt Melanie Oudin 5-7, 6-1, 6-3; Roberta Vinci bt Nastassja Burnett 6-1, 6-4; Li Na bt Zheng Zie 6-3, 6-1; Maria Kirilenko bt Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-1; Samantha Stosur bt Peng Shuai 7-6(5), 6-0.
Serena Williams bt Laura Robson 6-2, 6-2; Simona Halep bt Agnieszka Radwanska 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2.
First round: Romina Oprandi bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-0; Sloane Stephens bt Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-3; Ursula Radwanska bt Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Carla Suarez Navarro bt Nadia Petrova 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(1).
Men: Second round: Jerzy Janowicz bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(5); Alexandr Dolgopolov w/o Stanislas Wawrinka; Marcel Granollers bt Andy Murray 6-3, 6-7(5) retired; Benoit Paire bt Julien Benneteau 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(4); Gilles Simon bt Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-3.
Novak Djokovic bt Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-3; Roger Federer bt Potito Starace 6-1, 6-2; Juan Martin del Potro bt Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-2; Kevin Anderson bt Marin Cilic 6-3, 7-6(7).