A frustrated Dan Evans became the first home-grown casualty at the Aegon Intrnational after going down 6-2, 6-3 to German qualifier Tobias Kamke.
Evans, ranked 144, was overpowered by an opponent ranked 90, and was left fuming at some contentious decisions by the umpire.
With the first set going with serve at 2-3, Evans found himself having to save a break point in game six. And he thought he had done just that and taken the game to deuce as Kamke’s shot, when the score was at 30-40, looked to have dropped wide.
But no call was made, much to the British number two’s astonishment.
“The guy was a shambles at the start,” Evans said.
“The ball was out. I don’t understand why he wasn’t listening to what I said, he basically thought he was right. It’s pretty annoying.”
Evans struggled to regain composure after that point and Kamke served out the following game comfortably. A visibly discontented Evans was broken again after a short deuce battle, eventually double faulting to hand the first set to Kamke.
He took a break from the court in between sets but struggled to get going and changed his racket midway the first game of the first set.
If this was gamesmanship on his part it made little difference as the German held his serve with ease once more.
And it looked as though he might claim an early break in the second game of the set with the scores at 15-30, but to Evans’ credit, he composed himself to hold. He let out a small roar in delight and showed some nice shots on his own serve as he looked to breath some life into his game. Chances came on the Kamke service too but he was out of sorts, hitting a simple backhand slice long with the court at his mercy.
And he was made to pay in game six as Kamke could see Evans tiring. A long deuce battle ensued and Evans laughed in disbelief as Kamke continually hit the lines. Another double fault once again handed the German the advantage and the break of serve, and despite a gutsy display in game seven, Kamke held on to make it 5-2.
Evans held serve in the next game but by this time there was a sense of inevitability about the outcome. The towering German was pushed to deuce before sealing the match after yet another tired-looking shot from Evans fell well wide.
“I’m pretty angry right now,” he added. I got the chances I just didn’t take them. I need to put the ball in the court at the key timed and I missed a lot at the wrong times.
“He didn’t do much either, it’s a frustrating match. I just couldn’t get going but credit to him, he did well.”