The three-time Grand Slam champion retired during his contest with Ilya Ivashka due to left knee trouble. The Swiss looked uncomfortable throughout his brief outing in France’s second-largest city, and he quit shortly after conceding the first set.

It was yet another concerning evening for Wawrinka and his supporters. The 32-year-old, who departed the court close to tears, appears to still be hampered by his problematic left knee – and his stuttering comeback after six months on the sidelines continues.

The Swiss may have completed his match with Tallon Griekspoor in Rotterdam last week, but he looked unconvincing throughout. It was a similar story against his latest opponent, and his uneasiness in defence remains a worry.

Wawrinka is expected to be involved in the first Masters event of the season in Indian Wells next month. He reached the final 12 months ago, but fell to Roger Federer in straight sets.

There was a better outcome for Tomas Berdych in Marseille. The Czech did not have it all his own way against Stefano Travaglia but prevailed 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3.

Karen Khachanov, Filip Krajinovic and Nicolas Mahut also progressed into the last eight.