Bernard Tomic has been sent crashing out of the Halle ATP grasscourt event in Germany by a sweet-swinging Richard Gasquet, 6-3 6-3.
Buoyed by Tuesday’s excellent win over wily German Tommy Haas, the Queenslander was looking to build on that victory ahead of Wimbledon, starting on July 3.
However, he made the worst possible start as the world No.30 broke his serve in the opening game and again in the 10th to seize the early initiative.
The second set followed a similar pattern, as Tomic struggled to overcome the Frenchman’s excellent returning game and was broken two further times to sink to defeat in exactly one hour.
At the very least Tomic had good company in exiting the tournament. Second seed Dominic Thiem shocked by big-serving Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3 7-6 (9-7).
The Austrian world No.8 struggled with Haase’s consistency throughout and missed two set points in the second set before double-faulting on his opponent’s first match point.
Thiem suffered a solitary break as the 30-year-old Dutchman, ranked 42nd in the world, went 5-3 up before serving out the set.
The 23-year-old Thiem was again under pressure as the unforced errors started to pile up and had to dig deep to save further break points at 2-2 and 4-4 in the second.
Haase finally got the break he wanted two games later, firing an audacious lob and slapping a desperate and risky crosscourt forehand that Thiem could not return to go 6-5 up.
But instead of serving out the match Haase was broken straight back and had to save two set points before Thiem handed him the game with his fourth double-fault.
Haase will next face Gasquet in the quarters.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev, last year’s finalist in Halle, found little resistance against Philipp Kohlschreiber to win 6-3 6-3 and set up a quarter-final against Roberto Bautista-Agut, who beat Dustin Brown 6-4 1-6 7-6 (8-6)