Belgian wild card David Goffin knocked out compatriot and last year’s runner-up Xavier Malisse 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Chennai Open on Tuesday.
The 124th-ranked Goffin rallied from a set down to beat the seventh-seeded Malisse, also the 2007 champion, in one hour and 53 minutes after securing the crucial break in the sixth game of the third set.
Another Belgian to suffer an upset in the first round was eight-seeded Olivier Rochus, who lost to qualifier Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-4. Elsewhere, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Victor Hanescu reached the second round with straight-set wins.
Malisse broke his opponent in the fifth game to clinch the opening set before Goffin, who lost in the second round last year, rallied to break in the sixth and eighth games of the second set, at the end of which Malisse complained of a stomach ailment.
“He was sick I think … (with a) stomach ailment. He was tired,” Goffin said. “He is never easy to play, even if he is sick he can hit the ball very hard.”
The 21-year-old Goffin will next play Andreas Beck of Germany, a straight-sets winner against Vasek Pospisil, after triumphing in his first ever encounter with Malisse.
“When I was young I saw him on TV. I was his fan. Now I played him for the first time,” Goffin said.
The day’s other suprise winner, Sugita, will play Yen-Hsun Lu in the second round after the Taiwan player ousted Thiemo De Bakker 6-3, 6-3.
“It was one of the best matches I’ve played,” 235th-ranked Sugita said of his victory over Rocchus. “This is one of the highest-ranked players I’ve beaten.”
Predominantly a baseline player, the 23-year-old Sugita counterpunched hard and strong to keep No. 67 Rochus at bay.
Sugita said coming through the qualifiers helped him adapt to the conditions better, while Rochus was playing his first match of the new season.
“It was good for me,” he said. “I hope to play this well in the coming rounds, and be prepared for the Australian Open qualifiers.”
Among Tuesday’s other matches, lucky loser Roger-Vasselin of France brushed aside compatriot Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-3 and Hanescu of Romania shut out Sam Querrey of the United States 6-3, 6-4.
Roger-Vasselin will meet 17th-ranked defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the second round, while Hanescu faces Canadian fourth seed and world No. 31 Milos Raonic next.