Top seeds continue to falter as Gasquet loses out in tie-break decider

Men’s top seed Richard Gasquet has crashed out of the competition at the first hurdle after losing two tie-break sets to world number 82 Marinko Malosevic.

Gasquet, the highest ranked of all the male entrants into this year’s AEGON International, was given a bye in the first round of the tournament, so stepped onto centre court for the first time in this second-round match.

He was up against qualifier Malosevic, who had ousted Britain’s number two James Ward in the first round.

Gasquet had strolled into an easy and early lead, taking the opening set 6-1 after winning the first five games.

However, the Australian Matosevic put up an unexpected fight in the second set, forcing it into a tie-break that he subsequently went on to win 7-5.

The third set followed a similar pattern: The battling Matosevic trying to defy a 63-rank difference to get the better of Gasquet, who turned 26 earlier in the week.

A tie-break ensued and a deflated Gasquet saw his hopes of a crack at the AEGON title ruined as Matosevic recorded a 7-3 tie-break win and overall victory in just under two-and-a-half hours.

Matosevic will be looking at either Marcos Baghdatis or Steve Darcis as his next victims as he heads into the quarter-finals.