No.1 seed Dominic Thiem was dumped from the first round of the ATP Rio Open in straight sets on Tuesday night local time.
The Austrian’s 6-3 6-3 loss to Serb Laslo Djere sees him join No.2 seed Fabio Fognini and third seed Marco Cecchinato on the sidelines.
In all, six of the clay-court tournament’s eight seeds departed at the first hurdle on a dramatic Tuesday in Brazil.
Only No.5 seed Joao Sousa was a winner, with fourth seed Diego Schwartzman currently on court against Pablo Cuevas and hoping to join him in the second round.
Thiem struggled throughout the 80-minute encounter, winning barely half his first-serve points and double-faulting five times.
Djere came into the contest on a four-match losing streak but snapped that in delivering Thiem his fourth loss from seven matches in 2019.
Good lord, what a nightmare season Domi is having so far. Hopefully he can fix his health cause he is *clearly* struggling.
He doesn't plan to play next week, but he if feels okay and needs matches should go a play somewhere…
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 20, 2019
The world No.8 appeared to be struggling with a neck injury, requiring a visit from the trainer in the first set.
Fognini also struggled in his match, falling 6-2 6-3 to Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The Italian also had to contend with physical issues, with Canadian journalist Tom Tebbutt reporting that he had his lower right calf taped during the match.
Fognini’s loss saw him go 0-3 during the Latin clay-court swing; he lost his opening-round matches in Cordoba and Buenos Aires before bowing out in Rio.
Yet there was delight for Auger-Aliassime, with the 18-year-old projected to crack the world’s top 100 when next week’s rankings are released.
With Fognini loss Cecchinato (and despite his loss) is the new Italian best ranked player
— enrico maria riva (@enricomariariva) February 19, 2019
“It’s at the top, for sure, with my most memorable wins,” Auger-Aliassime told atptour.com.
“You come here, you play the second seed, obviously you’re not favoured. But you just believe in your tennis, you believe in your game. These wins, that’s what you work for.”
Cecchinato’s loss may have been the biggest surprise, given the Italian arrived in Rio in great form fresh off winning the title last week in Buenos Aires.
Cecchinato fell 7-5 7-6(1) to Slovene Aljaz Bedene, who goes on to face Brazilian wildcard Thiego Monteiro.
Also exiting the 500-level tournament were No.6 seed Dusan Lajovic – a 6-2 6-1 loser to Brit Cameron Norrie – and seventh seed Malek Jaziri, who went down in straight sets to Federico Delbonis.
No.8 seed Nicolas Jarry of Chile lost a heart-breaker to Roberto Carballes Baena, going down 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(6).
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