(Reuters) - Erratic serving cost Dominic Thiem dearly as the third-seeded Austrian suffered a 6-2 7-5 defeat by Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in the second round of the Halle Open on Wednesday.
French Open runner-up Thiem double-faulted four times and landed only 53 percent of his first serves in play as he struggled to find his rhythm on the German grass.
World number 52 Sugita took his chances to break his seventh-ranked opponent three times, before clinching one of the biggest wins of his career in just under an hour and a half.
The result represents a setback for Thiem’s Wimbledon preparations, with the Austrian having failed to progress beyond the last-16 in his four appearances at the All England Club.
Earlier in the day at Halle, big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov overcame Japan’s Kei Nishikori for the second straight year at the last-16 stage.
The 22-year-old Khachanov fired seven aces and broke his opponent’s serve twice in each set to win 6-2 6-2 in 78 minutes.
“I had to play more aggressive,” Khachanov, recording his 20th match win of the season, said courtside.
“I had good memories here on centre court. I played three matches here last year so it gave me a lot of confidence and experience. This year has been great so far.”
Khachanov will next face Spanish fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who overcame Dutchman Robin Haase 6-4 7-5.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet