Houston - South Africa’s top tennis player, Kevin Anderson, exited the US Clay Court Championship after losing a tight first round encounter to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.
Verdasco, the world No 31, won the one-hour and 57-minute contest 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4).
According to the ATP Tour website, Verdasco now leads their head-to-head rivalry 3-2, having won their previous match-ups on clay - in 2011 (Estoril) and 2012 (Barcelona).
Anderson, though, had won their past two contests - at the 2013 Australian Open and 2016 Nottingham event.
The 30-year-old Anderson was ranked as high as No 10 in the ATP Rankings in 2015 before an injury-plagued 2016 saw his ranking drop significantly.
He is currently ranked 67th in the world by the ATP.
Results from the ATP US Clay Court Championships on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):
Chung Hyeon (KOR) bt Victor Estrella (DOM) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x5) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4)
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA x8) bt Francis Tiafoe (USA) 7-5, 1-6, 6-2
Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) bt Jared Donaldson (USA) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Horacio Zeballos (ARG) bt Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) 6-2, 7-5
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) bt Donald Young (USA x7) 6-3, 6-4
Ernesto Escobedo (USA) bt Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-3, 6-3
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Adam Pavlasek (CZE) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x6) bt Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 7-5, 6-4