Kevin Anderson, the 6ft.8in beaten finalist, was cut down to size by Argentine Guido Pella – and admitted it was tough to take.
Overall I didn't feel like I played that bad of a match. I could have probably served a little bit better Kevin Anderson
The fourth-seeded South African, on the comeback trail from injury, went down 6-4 6-3 7-6 to the 26th seed.
Anderson said: “It was tough. I haven’t played him before. I’ve only hit with him once in Miami a few months ago. So it’s always a little tricky playing somebody for the first time.
“He made life really difficult for me, I felt. He moves really, really well. I felt I had a pretty hard time keeping him on defence, finishing out the points. When I was able to do that, I had the most success.
“ Overall I didn’t feel like I played that bad of a match. I could have probably served a little bit better. Obviously I didn’t take my chances on breakpoints. That’s probably one of the key stats. Right from the first game, breakpoint percentage converted was really low.
“Sometimes just winning a few of those can really change a match. Even though it was straight sets, tennis is a game where a few points can really change the direction of a match. It was definitely a tough one. It was very difficult at times out there.”
Anderson tried to not use the fact it was only his second tournament back.
He said: “Did I feel like lack of match play had an impact? It’s always impossible to say. Without a doubt playing a lot of matches and being match tough, having a lot of confidence in that process, is very valuable. I haven’t had that right now. I’m sure that fact is in somewhere along the line.
“ I thought, even though I haven’t played, he was really a tough opponent. I mean, for me, yeah, obviously a tough grass season, but definitely some positives being back onto the match court, being able to play two tournaments, getting in a few more matches.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to keep progressing, find more momentum heading into the hard court swing in the States.”
Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the 23rd seed, surprised tenth seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-3 7-6 6-1.
And another fancied Russian bit the dust when Daniil Medvedev, the 11th seed, was beaten by Belgian David Goffin, seeded 21, 4-6 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5.
Fernando Verdasco from Spain, who knocked out British No.1 Kyle Edmund, defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-4 7-6 6-4.