'I did not deserve to win,' says Murray after wasting seven match points
Britain's Andy Murray returns the ball to Germany's Dominik Koepfer. AFP
Former world number one Andy Murray failed to convert seven match points but said he did not "deserve to win the match as I did not play well enough" after losing a three-hour thriller to lucky loser Dominik Koepfer of Germany in the Paris Masters first round on Monday.
Murray, ranked 144, had been given a wild card but while the 34-year-old lacked the killer instinct, he did show steely determination to battle back from a set and a break down to take the match to a third set before Koepfer won 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (11/9).
Koepfer -- a late replacement when American qualifier Jenson Brooksby withdrew with abdominal pains hours before the match -- had served for the match in the second set.
However, Murray, roared on by the crowd, roused himself and broke his 55th-ranked opponent before going on to take the set.
The third set was a cracking duel with Murray saving three break points at 0-40 at 3-3.
Murray, though, could not quite complete a remarkable comeback as he let so many match points slip -- two when Koepfer served to stay in the match at 4-5 and then five more in the epic tie-breaker.
It was Koepfer, though, who showed how to take chances when they come along as he converted his first match point.
Murray gave a brutal assessment of his performance.
"The thing I'm most disappointed with, was the way that I played tonight, to be honest," said Murray, who will play the Stockholm event before bringing the curtain down on his season.
"I did really well to get myself in the position to win the match, but I don't think I deserved to win.
"Obviously I had a ton of opportunities at the end to do it, but the way that I was playing tonight was not good enough."
Earlier Cameron Norrie, who occupies a role Murray once did in his pomp as British number one, celebrated his 100th ATP tour match win, outclassing Argentinian Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-1.
The 26-year-old British number one has risen to 13th in the rankings having begun the year 71st in the world.
The South Africa-born left hander's best moment came when he won the prestigious Indian Wells title last month.
Norrie was blissfully unaware of having secured a landmark win.
"I didn't know about it," he said.
"Yeah, it's obviously a great milestone."
'It becomes reality'
Norrie said he was excited about still being a contender for the end-of-season ATP finals in Turin, Italy, from November 14-21 for the top eight in the Race to Turin rankings.
Six places are already secured but two spots remain.
"It is always a goal to be in the mix for something like that," said Norrie, who could seal his place in Turin by lifting the Paris trophy.
"I have played some very good tennis and in big matches and you want to be playing with that extra pressure.
"I could not be more proud of myself to be in contention.
"We shall see if it becomes reality."
Norrie is in world number one Novak Djokovic's half of the draw but the Serbian will be wary if they meet in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic is playing for the first time since Daniil Medvedev dashed his dreams of a Grand Slam sweep in the US Open final in September and he warned on Sunday lack that match play is his major worry.
The 34-year-old perhaps also with one eye on the Davis Cup finals is playing the doubles as well in Paris.
He and Krajinovic beat Australian pair Alex de Minaur and Luke Saville in a super tie-break 4-6, 6-4, 10/7 to progress to the second round.
He took to the court knowing who his second round singles opponent would be -- Hungary's Marton Fucsovics.
It will be a rematch of their Wimbledon quarter-final earlier this year which Djokovic breezed through in straight sets.
Fucsovics secured his place in the second round prevailing in a marathon three setter with Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5).