Andy Murray's lacklustre season took another turn for the worse when he was soundly beaten by an inspired Fabio Fognini in the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia a day after turning 30.
Murray has won just one tournament this year and Fognini was in no mood to come bearing late birthday gifts, outclassing the defending champion to win 6-2 6-4.
While Murray was once again way off the high standards he set in 2016, Fognini was outstanding with the backing of a partisan crowd and took only an hour and 33 minutes to claim the scalp of the world number one.
Murray won the title for the first time on the clay in Rome last year, but was unceremoniously sent packing in his first match of the tournament on Tuesday as Fognini dominated from start to finish to set up a meeting with Viktor Troicki or Alexander Zverev.
Fognini broke in a lengthy first game of the match after executing a clever drop shot which Murray could only drill wide on the run.
The unseeded Fognini was a man on a mission, stooping to guide away a backhand winner on the half volley to hold to love and race into a 4-0 lead.
Murray - who lost to Borna Coric in the third round in Madrid last week - finally got on the board, but there was no stopping Fognini as he took the first set in style with a blistering forehand winner which the top seed had no chance of returning.
Chants were ringing around the court when Fognini went a break up at 2-1 after giving Murray the runaround and the world number 29 followed up another deft drop shot with a rasping forehand winner en route to taking a 4-1 lead.
He was two points from victory at 5-1 up and although the Wimbledon and Olympic champion hung in there, it was too little, too late as Fognini sealed victory when Murray could only send a return into the net.