In his first ATP match since October last year, Andy Murray hit the exit door in the Montpellier opening round, falling to Egor Gerasimov 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 44 minutes. Thus, Murray has experienced the fourth straight defeat on the main level after the US Open, Roland Garros and Cologne, missing his opportunity in the opening set and fading from the court in the second after losing serve twice.
The Briton created two break chances and converted one in the opening set to erase the deficit, suffering three breaks to finish his campaign on the first obstacle and set eyes on the next week's ATP 500 event in Rotterdam, where he also received a wild card.
Gerasimov fired 12 aces and had the upper hand with his first serve, facing those two break points and getting broken once to mount the pressure on the other side. The Belarusian prevailed in the opening set's crucial moments and carried that momentum over the top to advance into the last 16.
Returners had no chances in the opening six games, with the rivals reaching 3-3 in some 25 minutes following Egor's hold at love.
Andy Murray hit exit door in Montpellier, losing to Egor Gerasimov in two sets.
Gerasimov drew first blood with a deep return in game seven that sent him 4-3 ahead and serve to cement the break before Murray landed a solid drop shot on a break chance that his rival failed to control, locking the result at 4-4.
Four relaxed holds later, they reached a tie break that saw 18 points and a lot of drama. Murray saved two set points at 4-6 and created a set point with a service winner at 6-6. Gerasimov saved it with an unreturned serve and seized the fourth set point at 9-8 with an ace after 70 minutes.
With momentum on his side, Egor grabbed a double break early in the second set to forge a 5-0 advantage after another ace. Serving to prolong the match and avoid a bagel, Murray saved a match point in game six with a sharp forehand down the line winner before Gerasimov moved over the top with an ace down the T line a few minutes later for a winning start.