Marcos lost a close first-round contest in Tokyo on Tuesday, falling to top seed Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

“I knew drawing Baghdatis in the first round could be the worst match that I could have,” said del Potro. “He plays really well on hard courts and I realised his potential. It was a really good match and we both played very well. I really tried to focus to break serve, but Marcos hit a lot of aces and served well.”

Marcos, a semi-finalist last year, was particularly fluent on serve and rarely allowed del Potro to play his best tennis. Having spent 37 hours reaching Tokyo, del Potro fought back from a slow start and appeared to raise his game at 4-4 in the second set.

In a fiercely contested third set, Marcos saved two break points in the eighth game. But with his energy flagging after several long baseline rallies, del Potro seized his chance to break serve.

Marcos hit 17 aces and lost nine of his first service points, but the former World No. 8 could not deny del Potro, who was playing his first match since he suffered a US Open second round loss to Lleyton Hewitt.

Marcos will next compete at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, beginning Monday 14 October.

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