Tempers flared between the two players, both known for their irascibility with Fognini's disciplinary record a testament to his own, and Murray took exception to what he thought was his opponent shouting as he prepared to hit a winning volley.
“I looked in the direction of where the noise came from,” Murray said.
“He then told me, ‘Stop looking at me. What are you looking at me for?’
"I was, like, ‘Well, I was just about to hit a shot and someone made a noise.’
“He then was telling me to stop looking at him, which normally when someone shouts in the middle of a point, it is pretty rare that that happens [for a player to look at his opponent].
Fognini had the last laugh as Murray was beaten in three sets
Image credit: Getty Images
"He told me to stop complaining, to have a sense of humour, that, ‘When you have a volley on top of the net, you know you’re not going to miss it'.
“I was like, ‘I know I’m not going to miss it, but I wanted to know where the noise came from. It came from him, which you’re not allowed to do. It’s against the rules. It’s hindrance. You shouldn’t do it.'
"But he said I should have a sense of humour about that. I would say in that moment, neither of us were in a joking or laughing kind of mood. That was the issue I had.”
Umpire Fergus Murphy did not dock Fognini a point and also shunned Murray's complaints about the conditions when light rain began to fall in Shanghai.
The weather was a marginal call but Murray felt that the hindrance was obvious and admitted he let his frustration get the better of him as he continues to recover from a second hip surgery earlier this year.
“Nothing happened,” Murray added.
“I don’t know what the rules with that are. I have never had it in a match, and I have played 800-odd matches on the tour. I have never had that happen.
“He wasn’t saying anything to him, so I was just obviously frustrated with that.
"Fabio wanted to engage with me and I probably shouldn’t have done.
"But I’m not having him talk to me like that on the court.”