British number one Kyle Edmund has been knocked out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after a straight-set 6-4 6-4 defeat to Israel’s Dudi Sela.
Edmund, 23, looked rusty in his first match since reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January as he struggled to find his rhythm.
Sela, 32, is ranked 97th in the world and used all his experience as Edmund’s serve let him down in California.
Edmund will now turn his attention to the Miami Open later this month.
Edmund, who recently replaced Andy Murray as British number one, was an early break up in the first set but failed to capitalise.
Sela broke back in the sixth game and then Edmund failed to hold serve as the Israeli closed out the set.
Both players exchanged early breaks in the second set but Edmund, on his return after six weeks out, tired in the sun as the match wore on.
With the score at 5-4, Sela seized his opportunity to break and knocked the 21st seed out of the tournament with a forehand winner.
He will face either Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis or Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the last 16.
“It’s good to be back on court,” Edmund told BBC Sport.
“It’s been about six weeks since I last played, and it’s not ideal to have that long off at this stage of the year, and that’s it basically – just time away from the court and a larger time away from the match court. Obviously it takes you a while to get back into things.
“There’s no stress in terms of I did really well at the start of the year. It’s not like I’m chasing a lot of points.
“The reality is I’ve had pretty much six weeks away from court and have only been properly training for three weeks.”
BBC Radio 5 live’s Jeff Tarango at Indian Wells
Edmund’s first serve accuracy was way off and he tried to go for too many big shots.
Sela was able to keep him on the back foot and didn’t make as many unforced errors. He played with no pressure and it looked like it had got to Edmund.
In this kind of court you have to dig deep and maybe Edmund did not have that resolve he showed in the Australian Open.
Sela is a wily veteran, very adaptable and you could tell he has been here playing for a week and a half in qualifying.
It was an advantage for him that Edmund was only playing his first match.