MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Argentine Juan Monaco was the first seed to be knocked out of the Australian Open on Monday, succumbing as much to injury as to Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in a 7-6 6-1 6-1 first round defeat.
With all the seeds safely through to the second round as the shadows lengthened over show court two, the 28-year-old took lengthy injury time outs for treatment on his lower back and hip in a desperate bid to keep the record intact.
The 11th seed was clearly struggling, however, and howled in frustration as the 21-year-old Kuznetsov took advantage of his opponent’s restricted mobility to move to the brink of victory.
Monaco won applause from the crowd for his spirit in not retiring but was clearly in no position to compete.
World No. 78 Kuznetsov sealed the victory with his sixth ace of the match and will meet South African Kevin Anderson or Paolo Lorenzi of Italy in the second round.
Monaco, who reached a career high world number 10 last season after winning four tournaments, pulled out of the Kooyong Classic warm-up last week with a hand problem.
Editing by Peter Rutherford