World No 4 Grigor Dimitrov slumped to a shock 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 defeat to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in his opening match of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Saturday.
Dimitrov continues to struggle in the California desert, the 26-year-old Bulgarian No 1 never making it past the third round in seven appearances.
Dimitrov reached the final earlier this year in Rotterdam, where he lost to Roger Federer. That came after a breakthrough 2017 which saw him win four titles, including Sofia, Cincinnati, Brisbane and the ATP Finals.
Verdasco, 34, is making his 15th straight appearance in Indian Wells and trying to improve on his 2009 quarter-final run.
Earlier, Kevin Anderson, who is off to one of the hottest starts on the ATP Tour this season, defeated Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-4 in the second round on Saturday.
The seventh seed from South Africa moves through to the third round of the $16 million ATP/WTA hardcourt tournament where he will face either Nicolas Kicker or Damir Dzumhur
The 31-year-old Anderson comes into Indian Wells with an impressive 11-3 win-loss record in 2018. He lost in the final in Acapulco last Saturday to Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-4 but claimed his fourth ATP title earlier this year at the New York Open.