Top seed Marin Cilic was stunned 6-7 (5), 7-5, 5-7 by Jozef Kovalik in the second round of the Chennai Open tennis tournament here on Wednesday.
World No.6 Cilic was heavily tipped to win the hard court tournament but he was below his best against the 117-ranked Slovakian, going down in 2 hours 49 minutes at the Stadium Court.
Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, started on the wrong note, losing the first set in the tie-breaker against the qualifier.
It was always going to be a battle for Cilic after surrendering the first set. But he was expected to break Kovalik’s serve.
The Croatian pulled level claiming the second set but his inspired rival withstood intense pressure to which he was subjected.
Kovalik grew in confidence as the match progressed and snatched the deciding set 7-5 to claim a memorable victory.
Also on Wednesday, Indian men’s doubles tennis pair Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan won their first round clash, beating Brazil-Croatian pairing of Marcelo Demoliner and Nikola Mektic 6-4, 6-4.
But India’s other pairing of N.Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan were beaten by Swedish duo of Johan Brunstrom and Andreas Siljestrom 6-2, 6-4.
Bopanna-Nedunchezhiyan took 60 minutes to complete the victory at Court 1.
The Indian pair safely negotiated all the five break points on their serve and won two of the six break points they received.
Bopanna and Nedunchezhiyan will play against the American-Austrian pairing of James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald in the quarter-finals.