MONTREAL — Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil says he "completely vanished into thin air" after jumping out to a big lead.
Fellow Canadian Peter Polansky, ranked No. 116 in the world, upset 75th-ranked Pospisil in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 in the opening round at the Rogers Cup on Monday.
Pospisil was leading 5-2 in the first set and making quick work of his countryman when the match took a turn.
"I don’t know what happened," said Pospisil. "It’s one of those matches to forget, to be honest. I can’t say it wasn’t my day because I started well. Then things just kind of shifted strangely."
Pospisil began missing shots that he made look easy to begin the match.
"I don’t know how many times that’s happened in my career, where it was like a bipolar, weird thing. Two completely different players for the first half of the match, then the second half. It was very strange."
Down 5-2, Polansky won the next five games, breaking Pospisil twice in the process, to take the first set. It was more of the same in the second set, with the 29-year-old Polansky needing just 32 minutes to finish off the match.
"I really felt if I just made him play a few extra balls, and I made him play a little bit more, I felt like the match would turn around, maybe that not extreme," said Polansky. "I still thought I was going to lose the first set, but I was hoping to take the second set, push him into a third."
It’s Polansky’s second victory on the ATP world tour this year.
The Toronto native now faces Roger Federer, one of the tournament favourites, in the second round on Wednesday.
The two met once before at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2014. Federer easily won that match 6-2, 6-0.
"I remember it went really, really quick," said Polansky. "I wish I was out there longer last time. I looked at some of the highlights after the match, and there were a lot of good points. I just lost every single one of them."
Another Toronto player, Brayden Schnur, lost his opening-round match 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-1 against France’s Richard Gasquet.
The 197th-ranked Schnur held his own against Gasquet, ranked No. 29, for much of the three-hour match.
"I’m really happy that I went for it," said Schnur. "I went on the court and gave everything I had. I played a pretty complete match. The hard work is paying off.
"One of the best matches I’ve ever played, for sure."
Playing in just his second main draw at the ATP’s top level, Schnur showed he has a bright future ahead of him. The 22-year-old kept up with Gasquet stride for stride, with several games lasting more than 10 minutes.
The Canadian came agonizingly close to winning the first set. Leading 5-4, Schnur squandered four set points. He went on to lose in a tiebreak.
In the second set, Schnur broke Gasquet twice. But the Frenchman took control in the third, making quick work of the Toronto native.
"I’m mentally tough," said Schnur. "I stayed right there with him. A lot of guys can get discouraged. At the end of the day, I didn’t get the third set. That’s what I’m working for next time."
Schnur’s only other career ATP world tour match was in 2014 when he was 19 years old — a first-round loss versus Andreas Seppi at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Meanwhile on centre court, Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro (ranked No. 31) successfully upset 19th-ranked John Isner in straight sets 7-5, 7-5.
Earlier in the day, 22nd-ranked Gael Monfils avoided a first-round upset as he rallied from a set down to beat 35th-ranked Steve Johnson 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1.
Monfils struggled in the first set but got better as the match went on.
"It took me a long time in the match to start feeling better and more fluid," said Monfils, who will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the second round. "I was not confident. I had trouble moving."
Also in the afternoon session, David Ferrer of Spain, ranked No. 33, defeated 43rd-ranked Kyle Edmund of Britain 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 in a marathon match that lasted 2 1/2 hours.
In the first match of the day, Nick Kyrgios was dominant in a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Viktor Troicki. The 24th-ranked Kyrgios won the match in 51 minutes.
"For me, it was an OK match," said Kyrgios, who faces either Frances Tiafoe of the United States or Paolo Lorenzi of Italy in the second round. "He (Troicki) played far from his best tennis. I’ve seen him play unbelievable tennis. We all have. He’s been struggling physically, as well."
Milos Raonic, a product of Thornhill, Ont., received a first-round bye and plays his opening match on Wednesday afternoon.
Raonic was initially scheduled to play on Tuesday night, but Tennis Canada says the Canadian asked for an extra day off to recover from a minor injury sustained during practice.
Notes: Wayne Gretzky was in attendance at the Rogers Cup on Monday afternoon. He watched Canadian Denis Shapovalov practise on one of the side courts.