Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt fell victim to 22 service aces from towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic in a 6-3, 6-2 first-round loss for the veteran wild card on Tuesday at the Queen’s club.
“It was frustrating, to say the least,” 2002 Wimbledon champion Hewitt said.
Hewitt, who is playing after undergoing foot surgery in February, won the last of his four titles on the grass of Queen’s six years ago.
The 31-year-old Australian, ranked No. 205, saved a pair of match points in the penultimate game, before Karlovic secured victory with an ace in 64 minutes.
Karlovic lost the 2005 Queen’s final seven years ago and is playing the pre-Wimbledon event for the ninth time, now standing 17-8 in west London.
Earlier, South African ninth seed Kevin Anderson unleashed his emotions to secure a place in the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Britain’s James Ward.
Anderson, a semi-finalist at Queen’s last year when he lost to eventual runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, hammered 16 aces in his one-hour, 49-minute win over wild card Ward, who reached a surprise semi-final a year ago.
Gilles Muller, the 14th seed from Luxembourg, spoiled the ATP debut of teenaged Briton Liam Broady, whom he beat 6-1, 6-2.
Nicolas Mahut of France, the 2007 finalist, began with a win over Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-2 to set up a second round match with British No. 1 seed and defending champion Andy Murray.
Murray’s fellow Scot, Jamie Baker, defeated fellow Briton Oliver Golding 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.
Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan beat Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.