Andy Murray was unable to build on his encouraging form at the Dubai Duty Free Championshipsas he was stunned by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at the Indian Wells ATP tournament.
Murray became the only person in 2012 thus far to beat Novak Djokovic on his way to the final in Dubai last weekend, where he lost to Roger Federer, but there was no sign of that form in the United States as he went down 6-4, 6-2 to his Spanish opponent.
Garcia-Lopez, ranked 92nd, who had lost to Murray in their previous two meetings, broke the Scot twice in the second set to wrap up victory in one hour 40 minutes at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
For the second year in a row Murray, the world No 4, was eliminated in his opening match at Indian Wells, having lost 7-6, 6-3 to American qualifier Donald Young 12 months ago in the second round.
"I have to go away and think about what happened," Murray said. "I played great in practice, was hitting the ball really well. I felt pretty fresh.
"I didn't move my best tonight, but it didn't feel like I was moving really badly. He hardly missed the ball the whole match. He was playing with a lot of spin, and he plays his best tennis on clay courts.
"It almost felt like playing the match on a clay court. I wasn't able to hit through the court and I squandered so many chances. I had (Garcia-Lopez) 0-40 (on serve) two or three times, 0-30 a number of times, and I didn't break."
The first eight games went with serve until Murray was broken after hitting a forehand long and the Spaniard comfortably served out to clinch the opening set in 44 minutes when a backhand by the Scot sailed wide.
Garcia-Lopez broke Murray's serve in the opening game of the second set, when his opponent netted a forehand, and again in the seventh, when the Scot dumped a backhand into the net.
Leading 5-2, the Spaniard held serve to love in the eighth game, sealing victory on his first match point.
Murray, who had started his season so well, was left shaking his head.
"In comparison to last year, I was feeling way, way better," the 24-year-old Scotsman said. "I was feeling way more focused and confident, so I'm not sure exactly why that happened tonight.
"I started the year really well, in Brisbane, at the Australian Open and Dubai. In comparison to how I felt coming in here last year, it was night and day."
There was no such problems for Djokovic, the defending champion, who cantered into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2 thrashing to Kazakhstan qualifier Andrey Golubev.