TOKYO (AP) — Japanese wild card Tatsuma Ito upset Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Japan Open on Tuesday.
The No. 103-ranked Ito converted all four of his break-point chances to dispatch top-seeded Wawrinka at Ariake Coliseum.
He moved on to meet Benjamin Becker of Germany, who was leading Jarkko Nieminen 7-5, 4-1 when the Finn retired due to fatigue.
“It is the first time I have beaten a top 5 player,” Ito said. “I tried my best on every point, and I was very focused. I was a little nervous, but I stuck to my game, and I finished well.”
The early exit could dent Wawrinka’s chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London in November. The top eight players qualify.
Wawrinka, who won his Grand Slam breakthrough title at the Australian Open in January, is ranked No. 4 and could have ensured a spot at the ATP Finals by reaching the final in Tokyo.
“It was not a good day at the office,” Wawrinka said. “He started well, and then I was trying to come back in the match. First-round matches are never easy.”
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