Fernando Gonzalez's hopes for a successful claycourt season were dented when he suffered a shock 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 second round loss to Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.
After falling a set behind, fourth seed Gonzalez, ranked almost 150 places higher than the 22-year-old left-hander, looked to have clawed his way back into the match by winning the second-set tiebreak 10-8.
But Ramos-Vinolas responded to the roars of support from the local fans to grab one crucial break of serve in the decider and set up a last-16 clash with Lativa's Ernests Gulbis.
A minute's silence was observed before David Ferrer's match against Spanish compatriot Marcel Granollers following the death of former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch.
A Barcelona native, the 89-year-old was a member of the club where the tournament is being held.
Eighth seed Ferrer beat Granollers 7-5, 6-4 and Juan Carlos Ferrero also went through when his Ukrainian opponent Sergiy Stakhovsky retired. The Spaniard was leading 6-3, 4-2.
"I have a good feeling and the truth is I am playing some solid tennis," said the in-form Ferrero. "With (Rafael) Nadal out it means things are a bit more open."
Nadal, who has triumphed in Barcelona for the past five years, opted to skip the event to give his body a rest.
Lleyton Hewitt, however, will not be around to take advantage of Nadal's absence as his comeback from hip surgery stalled when he lost 7-6, 6-4 to Eduardo Schwank.
The 29-year-old Australian, who has played only one tournament since the operation at the end of January, was twice broken by the 59th-ranked Argentine and misses out on a possible last-eight clash with French Open runner-up Robin Soderling.
French third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bounced Czech Jan Hajek 6-3, 6-2 and will next play Spanish 15th seed Nicolas Almagro, whom he defeated last week in Monte Carlo.
"I beat him last week, but I was playing at home," Tsonga said at a news conference. "This time it is him who is at home, and he's going to get a lot of support, so I'm going to have to play a very solid match."
World No 9 Fernando Verdasco, whom Nadal thrashed in Sunday's Monte Carlo final, knocked out Tsonga's compatriot Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-3.