Last year’s runner-up Mikhail Youzhny was sent crashing out of the ATP Halle grass-court tournament on Tuesday, undone 6-3, 6-4 by the big-serving Ivo Karlovia.
The giant Croat, ranked 33rd in the world, sent down 22 aces in the short space of time in a 73-minute first-round match, with the Russian powerless to do anything about it.
Karlovic set up a second-round tie against Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun.
There was an early exit also for another top grass-court player in the form of Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who fell 6-4, 6-4 to Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
A former semi-finalist at Wimbledon, Gasquet has been suffering with a bad back in recent weeks and he re-injured his right shoulder in training for Halle.
Top seed and newly crowned French Open champion Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play his second-round tie yesterday, as was second seed Roger Federer.
Both had first-round byes.
Late in the day, French showman Gael Monfils won his way through to the second round with a 7-1, 7-5 win over Germany’s Benjamin Becker.
Playing for the first time since losing 6-0 in the fifth set to Andy Murray in the French Open quarter-finals, Monfils is next to play Japanese world No. 12 Kei Nishikori, a first-round loser in Paris.
Former champion Marin Cilic was upset by Marinko Matosevic of Australia in the opening round at the Queen’s Club on Tuesday.
The Croat won the grass-court title in 2012 and finished as runner-up to Andy Murray last year, but was beaten 6-4, 6-4, with a single break of serve in each set deciding the outcome.
Matosevic, who reached the final of a grass event in Nottingham last week, saved a break point in each set on his way to victory.
In second-round matches, second-seeded Tomas Berdych struggled to a 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier James Duckworth, while fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria defeated British wild card James Ward 7-5, 6-3.
Jarkko Nieminen of Finland saved three match points before defeating Benoit Paire of France 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).
He is next to face Russian Dmitry Tursunov, who defeated Dutchman Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4.
Spain’s Feliciano Lopez needed three sets — and two days — to overcome Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-7 (7/3), 6-1 in a match that was suspended overnight because of rain. His next opponent is scheduled to be four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Seventh-seeded South African Kevin Anderson reached the third round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Britain’s Daniel Evans, and there were first-round wins for Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.