Beijing - Last year's losing finalist Marin Cilic suffered a shock first round defeat to wild card Marius Copil, ranked more than 200 places below him in the world, at the China Open in Beijing on Monday.
The fourth seeded Croat took the first set 6-3 and looked to be coasting, but the Romanian world No 221 fought back with a number of big serves to take the second on a tie-break, 7-6 (7/0) and the third 6-4.
"I wasn't serving consistently well. When I had the break up in all three sets I would lose my serve," Cilic said.
The world No 15 lost to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the 2011 final and was hoping to go one better this year.
"I'm very disappointed as I always feel here may be the best of the year, and the conditions would suit my game almost perfectly," Cilic added.
Results from the China Open in Beijing on Monday (x denotes seeding):
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 6-2, 6-3
Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (ESP) bt Zheng Jie (CHN) 6-2, 6-4
Sabine Lisicki (GER) bt Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 5-7, 6-4, 3-0 (retired)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x1) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-1, 6-0
Elena Vesnina (RUS) bt Tamira Paszek (AUT) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Marius Copil (ROM) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x4) 3-6, 7-6 (7/0), 6-4
Florian Mayer (GER) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-1, 6-2
Zhang Ze (CHN) bt Wu Di (CHN) 6-4, 6-1