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Andy Murray’s poor finish to the season continued with a fourth defeat in five matches despite a marathon effort against Tomas Martin Etcheverry in Basel.
British number three Murray had snapped a three-match losing streak with a hard-fought victory over Yannick Hanfmann on Monday and claimed the first set of this last-16 tie at the Swiss Indoors.
Etcheverry, ranked eight places above Murray in 32nd, was able to fight back impressively and it was the Argentinian who prevailed 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-2 after a three-hour-and-eight-minute battle.
The early exchanges of set one proved an insight into what was in store for an excitable crowd at the ATP 500 event with breaks traded by both players.
After Murray was broken in his first service game, he responded with a superb lob for break point before a volley at the net got the tie back on serve at 2-2.
A tie-break was eventually required and a classy drop shot helped three-time grand-slam champion Murray draw first blood.
The 84-minute set appeared to take its toll on Murray at the beginning of the second with Etcheverry able to establish an early advantage and he saved four break points in a lengthy seventh game on his way to forcing a decider.
Murray was struggling physically by this point and a racket felt the force of his anger despite the Swiss crowd cheering him on.
Etcheverry was in the ascendancy now though and set up match point with a superb passing stroke before a service winner sent him through to the last eight.
Elsewhere, Cameron Norrie had no answer to world number 10 Alexander Zverev in the second round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
Zverev had won the first three meetings between the top-20 players and claimed a fourth in a row with an emphatic 6-2 6-4 victory.
A superb backhand winner down the line earned Zverev a break in Norrie’s first service game and the British number one was broken again before losing the first set in 36 minutes.
Norrie tried to wrestle his way back into the contest, but was broken again in the third game of the second set.
It remained on serve until Norrie forced two break opportunities when Zverev was serving for the match and yet the German responded by winning four consecutive points to close out a solid win, which makes it four defeats in five for last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist.