Sixth seed Gael Monfils fell victim to a 213th-ranked lucky loser on Wednesday as the Frenchman crashed to a 7-6 (7-0) 7-5 first-round defeat against Jaroslav Pospisil at the Austrian Open.
A week after beating Roger Federer, an out-of-sorts Monfils had no answer to his little-known opponent, who got into the draw hours before the match when Australian Marinko Matosevic pulled out with a shoulder injury.
“I’m pissed, I didn’t come here to lose in the first round,” said Monfils, who admitted that he failed to make the quick turnaround required after arriving from Asia and working to adjust once again to Europe.
“Credit to him, he played well, but it was more about my body and my lack of game. He was playing tough but I was just not ready. I’m not happy with tonight.
“I tried hard, I did the best I could, but it’s not easy to come from outdoors (Shanghai) and adjust to an indoor court in only a few days. This is tough to take.”
Czech fifth seed Radek Stepanek reached the quarter-finals after taking nearly two and three-quarter hours to defeat Lukas Lacko 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 7-6 (7-5). Fellow Czech seed Lukas Rosol joined in tuning up for next month’s Davis Cup final by defeating Mirza Basic of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-3 7-5.
Monfils went down to love in the first-set tiebreaker but got a break back in the second for 4-all before Pospisil again found his range. The Czech broke for 6-5, then a game later earned three match points from a weak Monfils return. One was enough to see him through to the second round against Austrian Dominic Thiem.
French top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said he is nearing a decision on a new coach but won’t make any announcement until a deal is done.
Tsonga, who is fighting for a place in the eight-man season finals in London next month, is top seed at the Austrian Open and begins in the second round after a bye when he faces German Daniel Brands.
Tsonga, who missed nearly three months of play over the summer with a knee injury, said he will soon have a new mentor after splitting in September from Australian Roger Rasheed, who also formerly coached Monfils.
“I’m looking for a coach and I’m getting close to one,” Tsonga said in his only words on the subject.
The former Australian Open finalist has gone it alone in the past, playing without a coach in 2011 before picking up Rasheed after the Australian ended with Monfils.
World number eight Tsonga is coming off a Shanghai semi-final last week, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
Tsonga stands provisional ninth in the field for the World Tour Finals from November 4, but needs to keep earning ranking points if he is to be assured of making the trip.
He is trying to stay ahead of a pursing pack led by compatriot Richard Gasquet and Canadian Milos Raonic.
The Frenchman said he is still playing at less than 100 per cent on his knee, but has been cleared by doctors to compete.
Tsonga won the Vienna title in 2011, his only previous appearance, and in his eyes he is defending that crown after not playing here in 2012.
“I’m feeling good and I’m fresh in my head,” said the player starting his fourth event in the last five weeks since making his return.