Goran Ivanisevic, the Wimbledon runner-up in 1992, had another of is notorious off days when he was beaten in straight-sets by the unseeded Shuzo Matsuoka of Japan in the opening round of the Kremlin Cup yesterday in Moscow, ending his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Tour World Championships.
"Today I was just a piece of garbage," said the second-seeded Croatian, whose recent slump has relegated him to No 9 in the world rankings.
Ivanisevic had been battling with the Swede Thomas Enqvist for the final qualifying place in the year-end event, beginning on 14 November in Frankfurt, but his booming serve failed him and numerous unforced errors contributed to a 7-6, 6-4 upset.
The 28-year-old Matsuoka, Japan's top player who is ranked No 62 in the world and was runner-up at Queen's in 1992, will face Germany's Carl Uwe- Steeb in the second round.
Alexander Volkov, the defending champion from Russia, a notorious slow starter in tournaments, rallied to beat France's Lionel Roux 4-6, 7-6, 6-0.