TOKYO: U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was knocked out in the first round of the Japan Open, losing 6-4, 6-4 to French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Tuesday.
Roger-Vasselin set up triple match point with a crosscourt backhand then wrapped up the match in one hour, 28 minutes when Del Potro's forehand return was long.
"I didn't play my best tennis today," said No. 1-seeded Del Potro.
"I wasn't feeling 100 percent and the other guy played a great game."
Roger-Vasselin, ranked 189th, had nine aces against the fifth-ranked Argentine's six.
"It's unbelievable," Roger-Vasselin said.
"I didn't expect this. It was tough in the first two games and then I saw that he wasn't playing that well and thought why not today?"
In another first round match, Australian Lleyton Hewitt defeated Japan's Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 7-5.
Top-ranked Roger Federer pulled out of the US$1.2 million event, citing fatigue, along with third-ranked Andy Murray of Britain who withdrew because of a wrist injury.
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