Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka fell at the first hurdle when beaten 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 by Romanian Marius Copil at the Sofia Open.
The Swiss, who has fallen to 57th in the rankings, strolled to the first set in just 23 minutes after breaking Copil in the sixth game.
But the Romanian world No. 56 became more and more comfortable as the match went on and bagged the second in a tiebreaker.
Copil, who reached the tournament’s final last year, put up stubborn resistance from the baseline in the third set, wrapping up his first career victory over the 33-year-old Wawrinka, whose trademark backhand failed to fire.
“I think it was a really tough match,” said Wawrinka.
“I played really well in the first set. In the second set, I had some chances. He was a little bit better than in the beginning. I made a few mistakes and the same [happened] in the third set. He played well.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 4, 2019
“Sometimes you lose tough matches. You need to keep practising [and] you need to keep fighting. Tonight, it was not my night.”
Next up for Copil is the winner of the first-round clash between sixth-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain and Bulgarian qualifier Alexandar Lazarov.
Australia’s Matt Ebden beat 17-year-old local Adrian Andreev in three sets to reach the second round.
Ebden held his nerve in a tiebreaker to seal a 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) win in 2hrs and 20mins.
The world No.45’s next opponent will be Spanish fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who made the quarterfinals of last month’s Australian Open.
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