Top seed Grigor Dimitrov suffered a shock first-round defeat to Tunisian world No 117 Malek Jaziri at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
Bulgarian world No 4 Dimitrov claimed the opening set with ease but failed to build on the momentum.
Jaziri, a quarter-finalist in Dubai four years ago, saved seven out of the eight break points he faced to seal the biggest win of his career in two hours and 17 minutes.
“I just tried to enjoy the match and play my game,” said Jaziri, who faces Dutchman Robin Haase in the next round. “This is a fantastic result.”
Dimitrov was far from his best, perhaps still not fully recovered from the illness which bothered him earlier this month as he lost the Rotterdam final to Roger Federer. He has also been bothered by a shoulder injury in recent months.
“You have days like this that you can’t really do much else,” Dimitrov said. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t play my game to the extent that I was looking for. Movement was not good over the court. I thought I served okay for a little bit, but then I lost my rhythm again.
“All the credit to Malek. He played a good game, he was strong throughout the whole match. He had nothing to lose.
“Also pretty much a lot of luck was on his side, with the let calls. You control what you can control. Tonight, I couldn’t control anything on my side.”
Second seed Lucas Pouille had no trouble with the transition to outdoor hard court as he beat qualifier Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-4.
The Frenchman wasted no time in acclimatising as he beat his Latvian opponent in 79 minutes to set up a meeting with Karen Khachanov, who beat him in the Marseille final at the weekend. Khachanov defeated Denis Istomin 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-0).
Pouille’s compatriot Richard Gasquet was hampered by a knee problem as he lost to Croatian Borna Coric 6-4 6-3.
Coric, who beat Andy Murray here in the quarter-finals three years ago, will next face another Frenchman, Benoit Paire, who beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka on Monday.
Serbian seventh seed Filip Krajinovic beat Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano 0-6 6-2 6-2, while German Jan-Lennard Struff coasted past Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria 6-2 6-4, while in Tuesday’s late matches, Russian Evgeny Donskoy beat lucky loser Blaz Kavcic 6-3 6-4 and No 4 seed Damir Dzumhur, the world No 30, saw off German qualifier Yannick Maden 6-3 6-4.
You can watch the Tie Break Tens tournament live from Madison Square Gardens in New York on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix from midnight on Monday, and don’t forget you can watch repeats on Sky Sports Action from midday on Tuesday and 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix.
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