Spanish second seed Feliciano Lopez crashed out of the ATP Chennai Open on Thursday in a stunning second-round loss to qualifier Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.
The world No.14 looked rusty in his first match of the season as he tamely went down 6-4 6-4 to the 156th-ranked Bedene in an hour and 25 minutes at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium.
“He played a great match and he was a better player than me in this match,” Lopez said of his unfancied opponent.
“I know it is always tough to play the first match of the season because you are not confident, you need to adjust. But credit to him because he was very consistent.”
Lopez, 33, revealed he had been sick last week but refused to use that as an excuse.
“Nothing worked for me today,” he said. “My serve and volley was not working and I was also not moving well from the baseline. I need to work on my game. Hopefully I will be ready for the (Australian) Open.”
Bedene was excited after winning what he said was “the best match of my career.”
“I have never beaten such a high-ranked player before, so obviously this was very special,” the 25-year-old said.
“I was more solid on the baseline and I read his serves well. I was also feeling good with my serves.”
Bedene felt that coming through the qualifying round gave him an advantage against Lopez, who took to the court for the first time after being handed a bye into the second round.
“It always helps to be familiar with the conditions,” he said.
Two other Spaniards, third seed Roberto Bautista-Agut and No.5 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, advanced to the quarter-finals.
The 15th-ranked Bautista-Agut proved too strong for No.102 Peter Gojowczyk of Germany, cruising to a 6-3 6-2 win in an hour and 10 minutes.
The 31-year-old Garcia-Lopez fought back after losing the first set to oust Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-0 in two hours on an outside court.
“My game picked up as the match went on, so I am happy the way it went in the end,” said Garcia-Lopez, who finished 36th last year.
In Friday’s quarter-finals, Garcia-Lopez will take on Bedene.
Taiwanese veteran Yen Hsun-Lu rode past Pablo Carreno-Busta of Spain 6-4 6-4 in 73 minutes to set up a quarter-final against Bautista-Agut.