London - France's Richard Gasquet condemned Kei Nishikori to a first round exit at Queen's Club with a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Japanese youngster on Monday.
Gasquet, the 11th seed, had too much grass-court cunning for Nishikori, who is working his way back to his best after an elbow injury and the Shimane-born star never threatened to make it to the second round of the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event in London.
Nishikori's ability was just beginning to produce significant results before the elbow problem stalled his progress in 2009.
The 20-year-old's triumph at the Delray Beach event in 2008 was the first ATP title won by a Japanese man in nearly 16 years and he followed that by reaching the US Open fourth round.
However, Nishikori is now languishing outside the top 200 and he has been working his way back to form on the less prestigious Challenger circuit.
He was a clear underdog against a player of Gasquet's talent, but even so he would have been disappointed with the tame way he dropped serve in the first game of the match.
Nishikori battled gamely after that but Gasquet took the first set with a second break of serve.
Gasquet, a former world number seven and Wimbledon semi-finalist, broke again early in the second set before closing out the match.
Elsewhere, Spain's Ivan Navarro earned a shot at defending champion Andy Murray, who has a bye to the second round, after beating Daniel Koellerer 6-3, 6-4.
Fourth seed Andy Roddick, given a first round bye as he chases a record fifth Queen's title, will play Igor Kunitsyn after the Russian defeated Illya Marchenko 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Germany's Rainer Schuettler faces sixth seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils thanks to his 6-1, 6-2 victory over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Uzbekestan's Denis Istomin. the 16th seed, ended Jamie Baker's hopes of a win on home soil as the British wildcard, sidelined for six months by a life-threatening illness in 2008, was thrashed 6-1, 6-4.
Istomin will play Frank Dancevic or Dustin Brown in the second round.
James Ward, another British wildcard, fared little better as Robby Ginepri, fresh from his quarter-final appearance at this year's French Open, romped to a 6-3, 7-5 win.
Ginepri has a tough clash with fellow American Sam Querrey, the seventh seed, in the second round.
Ninth seed Julien Benneteau of France beat compatriot Arnaud Clement 6-2 6-4 to set up a meeting with Taylor Dent or Kevin Anderson.
France's Michael Llodra, the 12th seed, eased through his opening match with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Andrey Golubev, earning a tie against American Jessie Levine, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over wildcard Ryan Harrison.
Australia's Chris Guccione slumped to a first round exit as Israel's Dudi Sela fought back to win 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
Sela, the 14th seed, takes on Gilles Muller, a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 winner against Michal Przysiezny.
Results (x denotes seeding):
First Round -
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) bt Pere Riba (ESP) 6-4, 6-4
Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Taylor Dent (USA) 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 7-5
Richard Gasquet (FRA x11) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-3, 6-3
Gilles Muller (LUX) bt Michal Przysiezny (POL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Rainer Schuttler (GER) bt Daniel Gimeno (ESP) 6-1, 6-2
Ivan Navarro (ESP) bt Daniel Kollerer (AUT) 6-3, 6-4
Denis Istomin (UZB) bt Jamie Baker (GBR) 6-1, 6-4
Michael Llodra (FRA) bt Andrey Golubev (KAZ) 6-3, 6-2
Jesse Levine (USA) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 6-3, 6-3
Dudi Sela (ISR x14) bt Chris Guccione (AUS) 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Julien Benneteau (FRA) bt Arnaud Clement (FRA) 6-2, 6-4
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) bt Illya Marchenko (UKR) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
Robby Ginepri (USA) bt James Ward (GBR) 6-3, 7-5