Michael Venus has failed to advance beyond the first round of the ASB Classic, beaten 6-4 7-6 (4) by world No18 Benoit Paire.
Like last year, it was a fine effort from Venus, who often defied the huge rankings disparity with some superb tennis.
But Paire is an extraordinary talent and had the extra touches of class when it mattered.
He forced two break points and converted one, whereas Venus failed to take any of his five opportunities on the Paire serve.
New Zealander Michael Venus has lost the first set 6-4 against world No18 Benoit Paire.
After games went with serve early on, Venus was broken in the ninth game of the set.
Just like last year, Venus, who is ranked hundreds of places behind his opponent, competed well against the laconic Frenchman.
He even forced two breakpoints on Paire's serve late in the first set, before the 26-year-old Paire converted his third set point.
Defending champion Jiri Vesely is out of the ASB Classic, beaten 6-3 7-5 by eighth seed Roberto Bautista-Agut.
World No 41 Vesely never recaptured the form of last year. He was good in patches - and produced some booming serves but was undone by the consistency of the Spaniard.
Meanwhile, 2008 champion Philip Kohlscreiber completed a 7-6 (8) 6-3 win over compatriot Benjamin Becker on the grandstand court. It was a tight match, but Kohlscreiber - who, aside from David Ferrer has won more matches here than any other player in the draw - was too clinical.
He forced eight break point opportunities on the Becker serve, finally converting one in the second set.
2009 finalist Sam Querrey is also through to the second round, after opponent Alijaz Bedene retired hurt midway through the third set, with the score at 6-7 (5) 7-6 (10) 2-1.
The day session at the ASB Classic has just been cancelled - but organisers are hopeful of completing some matches this evening.
After a frustrating day of rain in Auckland, the day session was called off just after 5pm.
The night session will go ahead as planned, with defending champion Jiri Vesely taking on Roberto Bautista- Agut followed by Michael Venus' clash with Benoit Paire.
The day session matches have been shifted to the outside courts, with former champion Philip Kohlschreiber taking on Benjamin Becker on the Grandstand court followed by Fabio Fognini's clash with Joao Sousa.
Spectators over on court two can see 2009 finalist Sam Querrey against Alijaz Bedene, followed by Lukas Rosol versus Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.