Injured Murray exits Italian Masters

Birthday boy Andy Murray retired from his second-round match Wednesday at the $3.475 million Italian Masters due to a back injury.

The third-seeded British star, who turned 26 on Wednesday, lost the first set and had just won the second against Spaniard Marcel Granollers when the U.S. Open champion decided his week was over at Foro Italico. Granollers prevailed, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), at this French Open tune-up.

"I have an issue with my lower back," Murray said. "It's been an issue for a while. I would be very surprised if I was playing in Paris. I need to make a plan as to what I do. I'll chat with the guys tonight and make a plan for the next few days then make a decision on Paris after the next five days."

Murray was a semifinalist in Rome two years ago.

Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Spanish star David Ferrer came from behind to get past fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco 5-7, 7-5, 6-3. Ferrer's third-round opponent will be German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

More seeds exited the draw when 6-foot-8 rising Pole Jerzy Janowicz recorded his third career top-10 win by dousing eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov advanced via walkover when hot Swiss and 2008 Rome finalist Stanislas Wawrinka, seeded 15th this week, pulled out of his scheduled second-rounder, citing a thigh injury, and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy dropped 16th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1. A busy Wawrinka appeared in finals in his previous two events over the past two weeks, winning a championship in Portugal and finishing as a runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Madrid.

Also on Day 4 in Rome, Frenchman Gilles Simon handled Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-3; Benoit Paire outlasted fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Latvian Ernests Gulbis clobbered Serb Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-1; and Kohlschreiber erased Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-4, 6-1. Simon's third-round opponent on Thursday will be Swiss icon Roger Federer.

Also on Thursday, current world No. 1 star and two-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic will face the capable Dolgopolov.