Rome - Germany's Alexander Zverev crashed out of the Italian Open on Tuesday with a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Italian wildcard Matteo Berrettini in the second round.
"The match that I played was horrendous," said Zverev after the game which took 1hr 48min on the red clay of the Foro Italico.
Zverev, the 2017 winner and runner-up in Rome last year to Rafael Nadal, has had a terrible start to the clay-court season with the French Open starting on May 26.
In recent weeks, the 22-year-old fell in the quarter-finals of both Madrid and Munich to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Cristian Garin respectively. He was the defending champion at both events.
The German has yet to win a trophy this season and stands 4-6 on clay this spring.
Zverev had been seeded fourth in the final clay-court warm-up before Roland Garros, and was playing his first game having received a first-round bye.
Last year, Zverev reached the final in Rome beating Berrettini there in their only previous meeting.
But the 33rd-ranked Italian has been on form capturing his second ATP title on clay in Budapest last month, and reached the final in Munich.
Zverev started with a break in the second set, but lost this advantage immediately.
The 33rd-ranked Italian survived four break points, breaking the German in the 12th game to close 7-5 to the delight of the home crowd.
Berrettini will play Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who eased past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-4 in 73 minutes.
Belgian David Goffin rallied from a set down to beat former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in three sets and advance to the second round.
The 28-year-old Goffin won through 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 in 1hr 55min against the three-time Grand Slam winner to set up a meeting with Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro for a place in the third round.
Ninth seed Marin Cilic beat Italian wildcard Andrea Basso 6-1, 7-5 as Australian Nick Kyrgios needed three sets to get past Russian 12th seed Daniil Medvedev.
"I knew it was going to be tough today because I haven't played much on clay," said Kyrios, who next plays Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.
Portgual's Joao Sousa saved four match points in the deciding set to battle past American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4).
Sousa, who also trailed 1/4 in the deciding set tie-break, will play third seed Roger Federer in the second round.
Eight-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal will start his tournament against Jeremy Chardy in the second round after the Frenchman beat compatriot Richard Gasquet 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in a match suspended overnight on Monday.
Results from the ATP and WTA Italian Open tournaments in Rome on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROM) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-2, 5-4 retired
Julia Goerges (GER x16) bt Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 6-3, 6-4
Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x9) 6-1, 6-4
Carla Suarez (ESP) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Darya Kasatkina (RUS) bt Irina Begu (ROM) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Danielle Collins (USA) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x11) 7-6 (7/5), 0-0 retired
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-1, 6-2
Belinda Bencic (SUI) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x12) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Maria Sakkari (GRE) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-1, 7-5
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x5) 4-6, 6-1, 7-5
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x4) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3, 6-3
Ashleigh Barty (AUS x8) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS x12) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
David Goffin (BEL) bt Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-1, 6-4
Marin Cilic (CRO x9) bt Andrea Basso (ITA) 6-1, 7-5
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3
Taylor Fritz (USA) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 6-3, 6-4
Radu Albot (MDA) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3, 6-2
Joao Sousa (POR) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
Matteo Berrettini (ITA) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x4) 7-5, 7-5
Borna Coric (CRO x13) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-2, 6-2
Karen Khachanov (RUS x11) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP) 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x14) bt Laslo Djere (SRB) 7-5, 6-4