Andy Murray's woeful streak persisted as he suffered a first-round defeat to Tomas Machac at the Open 13 Provence.
The 36-year-old's 7-5, 6-4 loss to Czech player Machac in Marseille marked his sixth consecutive defeat since October, and it signifies that he has emerged victorious in only one of his last ten matches.
Murray has acknowledged that he is contemplating when to retire, but he strongly objected to the suggestion that he might be diminishing his legacy by continuing to play. He expressed his sentiments on X, formerly known as Twitter: "Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I'm not most people and my mind works differently. I won't quit."
This was not a bad performance against a player on the rise in 23-year-old Machac, ranked 66 in the world, but again there were costly lapses.
Murray rebounded from an early break and seemed to gain momentum late in the opening set, only for Machac to break serve at 5-5. The Czech then took the lead early in the second set, and Murray was unable to recover the deficit.
However, it was a considerably better day for Heather Watson, who secured her best victory by ranking since 2017 by upsetting the ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 7-5 at the Abu Dhabi Open.
Despite struggling in 2023, Watson displayed confident and aggressive tennis against the 16th-ranked Russian Kudermetova. This win could potentially propel her back into the world's top 130.
"I know she's such a great player so I knew I had to play really well today," said Watson, who defeated former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round of qualifying.
"I just focused on what was in my control, my serve and just trying to be as aggressive as I can. I played really well and had a lot of fun out here today."
Watson joins compatriot Emma Raducanu in the second round and will next face Spaniard Cristina Bucsa.
Harriet Dart, meanwhile, is on the verge of moving back into the top 100 after a 6-4 7-6 (0) victory over Anna Bondar in the opening round of the Transylvania Open in Romania.