Tim Henman blamed his lack of aggression late in the match against Argentinian qualifier Juan Ignacio Chela for his failure to reach the third round at the Monte Carlo Open today.
Henman, who trailed 6-2 4-2 in the Masters-Series clash, battled back and captured seven of the next eight games but then lost his momentum, and eventually the match, 6-2 4-6 6-3.
"From the situation that I got into, there was no doubt that I should have won the match," Henman said.
"I was getting the balance right of being aggressive and not making those unforced errors.
"I felt like he was obviously dominating things to begin with, but it turned round quickly from 4-2 game point down and I won seven of the next eight games to be up 3-1.
"Then I get the breakpoint and miss a passing shot by just a little bit."
From 3-1, 20-year-old Chela won four games on the bounce, and although Henman fought back to break and bring the match back onto serve, he failed to hold his own serve as Chela clinched one of the best results of his short career.
"With the way I am playing on all other surfaces I am capable of dominating players, and obviously for the seven games that I played better, I can dominate players on clay.
"But the problem I have is when that level drops a fraction to keep playing aggressively. If that consistency isn't quite there, then it is very difficult.
"I do find it difficult to turn things around, but I am definitely capable because I got back into a winning situation."
Henman's exit ends British interest at the last 32 stage of the £1.5million event, with Greg Rusedski defeated in the first round by Czech Slava Dosedel.
Chela, ranked 35th in the Champions Race, has played only on clay this year. His Mexico City title in February and his victory over Henman suggests he is more than capable of winning matches at Roland Garros.
Another early casualty on the third day was Swedish sixth seed Thomas Enqvist, beaten 7-5 6-1 by fit-again Dutchman Richard Krajicek, contesting his first tournament since the Australian Open.
South African Wayne Ferreira, a shock first round winner against Australian powerhouse Mark Philippoussis, also fell at the second stage, beaten 5-7 6-4 6-3 by Norwegian Christian Ruud.
Spaniard Alex Corretja looks a good title bet after crushing Frenchman Fabrice Santoro 6-0 6-4.
Gaston Gaudio (Argentina) beat Felix Mantilla (Spain) 6-3 7-5 Slava Dosedel (Czech Republic) beat Nicolas Escude (France) 6-0 6-2 8-Cedric Pioline (France) beat Jiri Novak (Czech Republic) 6-4 6-3 12-Albert Costa (Spain) beat Jerome Golmard (France) 2-6 6-4 6-2 9-Alex Corretja (Spain) beat Fabrice Santoro (France) 6-0 6-4 Franco Squillari (Argentina) beat Fernando Meligeni (Brazil) 6-2 6-4 Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain) beat Hicham Arazi (Morocco) 6-0 6-3 Christian Ruud (Norway) beat Wayne Ferreira (South Africa) 5-7 6-4 6-3 Karim Alami (Morocco) beat 3-Magnus Norman (Sweden) 6-3 3-6 6-1 Juan Igancio Chela (Argentina) beat 7-Tim Henman (Britain) 6-2 4-6 6-3 Richard Krajicek (Netherlands) beat 6-Thomas Enqvist (Sweden) 7-5 6-1Reuse content