Tennis: Big names continue to struggle as ASB Classic enters second round

Third-seeded Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo has lasted barely an hour oncourt at the ASB Classic, with Canadian fourth seed Felix Auger-Alissime following him out of the second round draw soon after.

With the four highest-ranked players earning byes through the opening round, Cerundolo and Auguer-Alissime were making their first appearances at the tournament this year, but were both swept aside in straight sets at Auckland.

Ranked 22nd in the world, Cerundolo has won two ATP Tour events, including last year's Eastbourne International on grass - one of the main build-up events to Wimbledon. 

Francisco Cerundolo exits the ASB Classic.
Francisco Cerundolo exits the ASB Classic. Photo credit: Getty Images

He had little answer to 79th-ranked Frenchman Alexandre Muller, who was riding the momentum of two qualifying victories and a first round win over countryman Benjamin Bonzi.

In a contest that lasted just 1h 6m on the outside court, Muller dominated 6-1 6-1 to earn a quarter-final meeting with Japanese Taro Daniel, who ousted Aussie eight seed Max Purcell to progress.

Ranked 27th, Auger-Aliassime lasted somewhat longer than Cerundolo, finally succumbing in 2h 34m and two tough sets, 7-6(9) 7-5, against German Daniel Altmaier.

Cerundolo and Auger-Aliassime join Purcell and American fifth seed Chris Eubanks, along with defending champion Richard Gasquet and two-time winner Roberto Bautista Agut, as early casualties of the draw, with players scrambling for form before next week's Australian Open.

With the arrival of the top seeds, the tournament has ramped up on day three, with American favourite Ben Shelton taking on Hungarian Fabian Marozsan and twice runner-up Cam Norrie up against Frenchman Luca van Assche.

Kiwi doubles star Michael Venus and Brit Jamie Murray - brother of Grand Slam winner Andy Murray - take on Germans Sander Gille and Joran Vliegan in the evening.