British No. 1 Cameron Norrie suffered a disappointing start to his 2022 campaign as he was knocked out of the Australian Open in the first round by American Sebastian Korda.
The 12th seed was outclassed 6-3 6-0 6-4, losing nine games in a row.
Norrie, 26, who turned professional in 2017, had a successful run of form in 2021 winning his first ATP tour title at Los Cabos in Mexico, and rose through the world rankings.
"I think I was never really in the match at all, partly down a break to start all three sets, and then I couldn't get in the return games at all," Norrie told a post-match news conference.
"Too good, but disappointed with the level. I think that's maybe my worst match in the last eight months or so. Disappointing, but it is what it is."
Norrie said he was feeling good physically, but couldn't work out specifically what went wrong: "Honestly, right now, I can't. Just feeling good physically, I had a week off to prepare, prepared as well as I could, and just I was slow, I was missing routine backhands, which I never miss.
"I honestly can't put a finger on it. I just need to get better and improve. Lots to work on, and, yeah, Korda was too good today. Any time I had a chance to kind of come back, he served his way out of it. And, yeah, on the bigger points he was much better than me.
"I didn't play well in really any big point today. That's part of it, and just disappointed the way to start the year with this match."
Unseeded Korda, spent his preparation time for the tournament in isolation as he tested positive for COVID-19 after landing in Adelaide earlier this month and was forced to withdraw from the two warm-up events. He was said to have spent the time hitting tennis balls in his hotel room, but isolation did not hinder his progress.
Norrie added on his 21-year-old opponent: "I think he's got a pretty complete game, serves very well. His backhand he can change line very well, and he can come forward and [be] very skillful around the net."
Six British players are in action at the Australian Open with Emma Raducan, Andy Murray, Dan Evans and Heather Watson playing their first-round matches on Tuesday, while qualifers Harriet Dart and Liam Broady made it to the main draw.
Meanwhile, Norrie will return home to London to prepare for the Rotterdam Open on Feb. 5.