Valencia :Defending champion Andy Murray crashed out of the Valencia Open 500 with Argentine Juan Monaco taking advantage of his disappointing display to go through to the quarter-finals 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 on Wednesday.
The Scot, who beat Feliciano Lopez in the last round, took on 12th seed Monaco after winning his last six matches without dropping a set.
They had played three times before and Murray had won twice, both occasions on hard court, the last being just a few weeks ago in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 in Shanghai where Murray went on to win against Roger Federer in the final.
It was his second ATP title this season after he retained his Toronto crown in August.
Murray struggled from the start though against Monaco, a former top 20 ranked player, and lost the first eight points as he went two games down.
Monaco took the game to the world number four and playing excellent tennis he broke again to win the first set 6-2.
Murray had only managed to get 48 per cent of his first serves in but rallied in the second set after initially losing his serve again, to win four games on the trot and level the match.
The initiative was with Murray but he returned to commit the same unforced errors and saw his serve broken cheaply before bowing out 6-2.
Frenchman Gael Monfils made light work of opponent Eduardo Schwank, who was out-classed 6-3, 6-3.
The number 14 in the world takes part in the competition fresh from victory in Montpellier last Sunday and having reached the final in Tokyo three weeks ago.
It was always going to be a tough challenge for Schwank, 50 places further down in the world rankings and on a poor run having gone out in the first round of his last four competitions.
Monfils cruised to a 4-1 lead in the first set superior in all facets of his play but he notably dropped the tempo and Schwank broke back to trail 4-3. Monfils was never in trouble though and took the next two games.
He went on to break Schwank again at the start of the second set and from there strolled to victory with his Argentine opponent committing almost double the number of unforced errors.
Last year's runner-up in Valencia, Mikhail Youzhny, and one of the favourites this time was due to play qualifier Pablo Cuevas but the semi-finalist at the US Open in September had to withdraw through injury and his place was taken by lucky loser Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Having been eliminated in the qualifiers, Ramos-Vinolas was understandably unprepared and appeared nervous as he quickly went three games down against Cuevas who instead of the ominous task of facing Youzhny, now found himself against a player ranked 128th.
Ramos-Vinolas battled back but lost the first set 6-3. In the second set a marathon fifth game proved crucial as Cuevas broke and went on to win 6-4.
This evening third seed Fernando Verdasco faces a potentially difficult match against Frenchman Gilles Simon, a former top-ten ranked player.