Andy Murray spurned seven match points as he suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to lucky loser Dominic Koepfer in the first round of the Paris Masters.
Former world No 1 Murray started slowly but looked to be in the ascendancy when he broke Koepfer - a late replacement for the injured Jenson Brooksby - as he served for the match and then levelled at one-set all.
Murray had two match points at 5-4 in the third set and then five more in an engrossing 18-minute tie-break that was eventually won by world No 58 Koepfer, who prevailed 6-4 5-7 7-6(9).
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Murray, who will finish his 2021 season at the Stockholm Open next week, shook his head as he made his way off court after one of his more painful losses in recent memory.
The 34-year-old had spoken ahead of the tournament about feeling close to making a breakthrough, but he failed to take his chances after getting one of his better-looking draws this year.
The last time Murray played the Paris Masters he lifted the trophy in 2016, but he started slowly against Koepfer and several errors allowed the German to break twice for a 5-2 lead.
Murray saved two set points and recovered one break, but Koepfer closed out the set at the next attempt.
A break in the first game of the second set gave Koepfer the lead again and Murray struggled to raise his level until breaking to love as the German tried to serve out the match.
Murray then kicked on and won the next two games to level proceedings.
An entertaining final set saw Murray hold from 0-40 in the seventh game and then spurn two match points at 5-4 after winning a thrilling point in the previous game.
With the match going to a deciding tie-break, Murray started in the worst possible fashion with a double fault to fall behind. However, he won three of the next four points and then created five chances to win the match.
He wasn’t able to take any of them, with Koepfer saving several with some fine shot-making, and the German then closed out the match with his first match point.

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