Thiem and Nishikori beaten in Halle second round

Published by AAP

Dominic Thiem suffered a surprise loss to Yuichi Sugita in Halle; Getty Images
Third seed Dominic Thiem and seventh seed Kei Nishikori are the latest big names to lose in the early stages of the Gerry Weber Open.

Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori both suffered shock losses in the second round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle on Wednesday.

Nishikori, seeded seventh for the grass-court event in Germany, was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

“I think today I just made too many unforced errors,” Nishikori told atpworldtour.com.

“He was playing well, but nothing special. I think today I couldn’t hit [many] good serves and also I should have tried to stay a little bit more on the baseline… Karen hits very flat and he’s not easy to play against on grass.”

Third seed Thiem, who reached the French Open final against Rafael Nadal earlier this month, was stunned as he fell in straight sets to Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2 7-5.

The 24-year-old Austrian saved three match points on Sugita’s serve but a long backhand on the fourth confirmed a place in the quarter-finals for the world No.52.

“That was one of the best matches of my life. Here on the Centre Court it’s so unbelievable, I can’t really believe that I’ve succeeded”, Sugita told the Gerry Webber Open website.

Khachanov will face Spanish fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the last eight after he eased past Dutchman Robin Haase 6-4 7-5.

“I had to play more aggressive,” Khachanov said after recording his 20th match win of the season.

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“I had good memories here on centre court. I played three matches here last year so it gave me a lot of confidence and experience. This year has been great so far.”

After eliminating world No.18 Lucas Pouille on Monday, Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas tasted a bitter defeat to American qualifier Denis Kudla.

Kudla sweeped up a 6-3 6-4 win for the right to face Sugita in the next round.

Defending champion Roger Federer is aiming for a record-extending 10th title in Halle and he will continue his campaign in the second round against Benoit Paire on Thursday.

Australia’s Matthew Ebden will open proceedings against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.

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