BARCELONA, SPAIN – Yuichi Sugita failed to match last year’s best-eight performance as he was knocked out of the Barcelona Open after suffering a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) first-round defeat to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Monday.
Had Sugita, ranked 42nd, beaten the 69th-ranked Spaniard, he would have set up an all-Japan clash in the second round with Kei Nishikori, who last year withdrew from the French Open tune-up tournament due to a right wrist injury.
“My shot selection in tight situations was poor. I feel like I ruined it for myself. It was a disappointing game,” said Sugita, who made a lucky loser run to the quarterfinals last year.
Sugita started off both sets allowing his opponent to break serve first. He needed a medical timeout after the 11th game of the first set to get a quick massage from a trainer, but eventually returned to the court to finish off the 2-hour, 27-minute match.
Garcia-Lopez will face Nishikori on Wednesday. Coming off a runner-up finish at the Monte Carlo Masters, Nishikori received a first-round bye and will be playing as the 14th seed.