Murray loses in 3rd round of Challenger Tour event in Spain

MALLORCA, Spain (AP) — Andy Murray lost 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) to 240th-ranked Matteo Viola on Thursday in the third round of a second-tier Challenger Tour tournament hosted by Rafael Nadal’s tennis academy.

Murray played only three matches in the hard-court tournament that was supposed to help in his comeback attempt following hip surgery in January.

The former No. 1 was broken five times by the Italian in a match that lasted nearly three hours. Murray started poorly in the third-set tiebreaker and double-faulted on match point.

Viola will next face Blaz Kavcic, a Slovenian ranked 239th in the world.

The 32-year-old Murray returned to the courts in June playing doubles — including at Wimbledon — before moving back to singles this month. The two-time champion at Wimbledon had lost in the first round both in Cincinnati and in Winston-Salem.

The British player had not been on the Challenger Tour since 2005. He had opened with straight-set victories in the first two rounds in Mallorca.