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INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Spanish world number four David Ferrer became the first top seed to tumble out of the men's event at the BNP Paribas Open, losing 3-6 6-4 6-3 to big-serving Kevin Anderson in the second round on Saturday.
Fourth-seeded Ferrer, a winner of two ATP titles this year who is known for his speed across the court, was overpowered by his towering South African opponent in the final set as Anderson wrapped up victory in just under two hours.
Serving for the match in dazzling sunshine at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Anderson sealed his first win against the Spaniard in two career meetings when Ferrer dumped a backhand service return into the net.
The six-foot eight-inch (2.03 meter) South African, ranked 37th, clinched both fists in jubilant celebration before walking to the net to shake hands with his opponent.
Anderson, who broke Ferrer's serve once in the second set and twice in the third, will next face Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, who crushed Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-1 6-0 earlier in the day.
Ferrer, who had beaten Anderson 6-4 6-2 7-6 when they met at last year's U.S. Open, was frustrated after squandering two break points on Anderson's serve in the ninth game of the second set.
"I had my chance at 4-4 (and 15-40) ... but he played good in important moments," Ferrer told reporters. "He played more aggressive, more consistent than me.
"In the third set I was a little bit tired and he was better than me. I don't have excuse, no? Of course I am disappointed because I lost my first match, but this is tennis. It's impossible to win always."
Asked why he had flagged in the final set, Ferrer replied: "It is normal, because he was better than me. He served better.
"Some days the player is playing good, and sometimes he's playing not so good. Today I am not playing bad, but it was not my best match, the best match of my career."
In other matches, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka came from a set down to beat American Wayne Odesnik 3-6 6-2 6-1 while Frenchman Benoit Paire swept past Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 6-2.
Later on Saturday, four-times champion Roger Federer was scheduled to launch his title defense against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin while Spaniard Rafa Nadal, sidelined for seven months last year by a left knee injury, faces American Ryan Harrison.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry