Veteran Czech Radek Stepanek on Tuesday ended the Madrid Masters run of Australian Bernard Tomic in the first round, with the Queensland youngster exiting 6-2, 7-5.
The 31st ranked Tomic, who reached a career-best first clay quarter-final last weekend in Munich, lost in less than 90 minutes on the blue clay of the Caja Magica.
He will now go into next week's Masters 1000 in Rome, the final major stop before the May 27 start of the French Open in Paris.
"I didn't play the right tennis the way I needed to," said Tomic. "But full credit to him (Stepanek), he played a really good match. The blue clay was a bit strange for movement, it was slippery.
"I'm feeling good on clay and now I have three or four days to get ready for Rome. Hopefully I can play well there and win a few matches."
In other early results, Croatia's Marin Cilic beat Spain's Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-3 while Federico Delbonis of Argentina stopped another local as he put out Spain's Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-2.