Marcos Baghdatis today became the biggest casualty of the US Open so far, the 16th seed losing in five sets to veteran Frenchman Arnaud Clement.
Clement, 32, recovered from two sets to one down to secure a 6-3 2-6 1-6 6-4 7-5 victory in sweltering heat on the Louis Armstrong court at Flushing Meadows.
"What can I say? I was really heavy on court, I wasn't feeling very fit," admitted Baghdatis, who was a runner-up at the Australian Open in 2006 but has never been beyond the second round in New York.
"I couldn't play aggressive. I was really defensive today and Arnaud played a very good first set. I didn't play very good tennis and he won the match."
Asked about his poor record in the year's final Grand Slam, the 25-year-old from Cyprus said: "It's true I didn't win a lot of matches here. I had some tough draws; Roger (Federer) 2004, and I lost to Andre (Agassi) 2006 and then (Max) Mirnyi in 2007.
"But I don't know why. I played two times in the finals of the juniors here, so I cannot say. It's not that I don't like the place. It's just finding the way of winning the first matches, and then everything starts rolling. I hope next year I will find a way."
Baghdatis missed a large part of the 2008 season with injuries and subsequently lost some of his sponsorship deals, revealing today why he has the Cypriot national emblem on his shirt.
"Because I have no sponsor, so I just want to put my country," he added. "I buy the shirts and my mom puts the flags on them."
Latvia's Ernests Gulbis was another seed to fall, the 24th seed losing in straight sets to France's Jeremy Chardy, but 23rd seed Feliciano Lopez advanced with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Santiago Giraldo of Columbia.