Stockholm – Daniel Brands booked a date with top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as he sent a second home player to a first-round defeat on Tuesday at the Austrian Open.
The German, who staged the biggest coup of his career in July when he beat Roger Federer in the Gstaad second round, after losing to the Swiss the week before in Hamburg, won his opening challenge in Austria with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) win over 2010 finalist Andreas Haider-Maurer.
Austrian Martin Fisher went out on Monday to Radek Stepanek.
Brands now has the chance to start reversing a run of poor form since his upset of Federer three months ago by taking another top 10 scalp in a dream scenario against Tsonga.
French top seed Tsonga is bidding to secure a spot in next month's season-ending World Tour Finals in London and stands provisional ninth with this week and two more to play in the regular ATP season.
With Andy Murray missing the season finale as he heals after back surgery, the leading nine point scorers will comprise the London field.
Tsonga will go into opening action in the second round after reaching a Shanghai semi-final at the weekend. But he will need to have jet-lag and general fatigue under control.
The Frenchman must also keep close watch on fragile knees as he plays in his fourth event of the last five weeks in the mad rush to qualify for London.
Brands won his sixth career match in Vienna after reaching the semis two years ago as a qualifier.
Tsonga has beaten Brands in both of their previous meetings, including a semi-final here in 2011.
Elsewhere at the Stadthalle, Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic beat American Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4 and Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium stopped Czech Jan Hajek 6-2, 6-0.
Australian Lleyton Hewitt was making his Vienna debut later as he faced Canadian Vasek Pospisil, the seventh seed. Hewitt is playing through a wrist injury which has bothered him for several weeks and will get the problem checked in the close season in Australia. – Sapa-AFP