Defending champion Radek Stepanek became the first defending champion in two decades to lose in the first round of the SAP Open, falling 6-3, 6-4 to Xavier Malisse on Wednesday.
The third-seeded Stepanek was broken once in each set to become the first defending champion to lose his first match the following year at this tournament since Brad Gilbert was knocked out by Gary Muller in 1990. Stepanek beat Mardy Fish for the title last year in San Jose after losing the championship the previous year to Andy Roddick.
Stepanek wasn't the only seeded player to fall Wednesday. Fourth-seeded Tommy Haas lost his second-round match to Denis Istomin 7-6 (3), 6-2. Haas had five set points on Istomin's serve in the first set before falling in the tiebreaker. He double-faulted on break point in his first service game of the second set and then was broken at love to lose the match.
In other second-round matches Wednesday, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-0, and Tomas Berdych beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-2.
In the featured night matches, top-seeded Roddick was set to take on Ryler DeHeart, and second-seeded Fernando Verdasco faced Yen-Hsun Lu in first-round matches.
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