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Andy Murray smashed his racquet in frustration after Alex de Minaur produced a stunning fightback in a last-set decider to win another epic contest between the pair 7-6 (5) 4-6 7-5 at the Paris Masters.
Murray had lost all five matches he played against the Australian, including three this season with the most recent coming in Beijing where the Briton failed to convert three match points.
The former world number one, though, looked on course to end that run in the first-round contest on Monday afternoon after recovering from losing the opening set tie-break to level and then forced two breaks to lead 5-2.
However, Murray failed to hold either of his own next two service games as the world number 13 rallied before turning the set around to close out another hard-earned victory.
A first match point went begging in the 10th game when Murray sent a return long and smashed his racquet on the floor after handing De Minaur a break-point opportunity, which he took to level at 5-5.
After De Minaur then held, Murray’s temper boiled over again during the change of ends when he knocked the drinks bottles and towel off his bench.
De Minaur grew with the momentum and was given a match point of his own after the chair umpire over-ruled a call on the baseline, which was shown to be out.
There was to be no reprieve for Murray when he sent a return into the net, which sealed De Minaur’s victory in just over three hours.
Murray – who had not won a match at the Paris Masters since winning the event in 2016 – then again smashed his racquet on the floor before trudging off court on the back of another gut-wrenching defeat.