Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem suffered straight sets defeats on Tuesday at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Marbella, Spain, on their return to competition after being sidelined for extended spells due to injury.
Three-times major champion Wawrinka, who was out for over a year with a foot injury, lost 6-2 6-4 to Sweden’s 131st-ranked Elias Ymer at the claycourt event.
Wawrinka, who turned 37 on Monday, suffered the injury in early 2021 and underwent surgery. Before the defeat to Ymer he had not played since his opening loss at the Qatar Open in early March last year.
The former world number three, who has slipped to 232nd in the rankings due to his lengthy injury absence, lost his first and last service games in the opening set against Ymer but made a strong comeback to jump to a 4-1 lead in the second.
But to Wawrinka’s frustration, Ymer won the next five games on the trot to seal his victory.
Wawrinka has been awarded a wildcard to the main draw of next month’s ATP Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo, where he lifted the trophy in 2014.
Thiem also made an underwhelming return to competition, losing 6-3 6-4 to Argentina’s Pedro Cachin.
Thiem has not played since suffering a wrist injury at the 2021 Mallorca Open and the 28-year-old, who has slipped to 50th in the world rankings, was unable to defend his U.S. Open crown last year.
Cachin got off to a flying start, breaking twice in quick succession to take a 5-0 lead. Thiem then won three straight games, but failed to convert two break points as Cachin held serve under pressure to take the first set 6-3.
Cachin then broke in the first game of the second set, holding on to that lead to win the match in an hour and 21 minutes.