The 27-year-old Tsonga squandered five break points before surrendering the first set 7-3 in the tiebreak but appeared to have gained control of the match when he levelled the contest at one-set all.
But Tsonga's serve, which had produced 14 aces, collapsed in the 10th game of decisive set and that allowed his 77th-ranked opponent to pull off an unlikely victory.
"I can't say I played bad tennis but on this kind of surface matches are always tight," said Tsonga, the highest seed in action on Monday in a tournament headed by Roger Federer.
"It is disappointing to drop out early at such a big tournament."
Tsonga's compatriot Gilles Simon eased past German Daniel Brands with a 7-6 6-4.
Both players dropped their serve twice before Simon clinched the tiebreak and won the second to set up a second round match with Italian qualifier Matteo Viola.
The tournament’s first upset came when Romanian Victor Hanescu sent seventh seed Jerzy Janowicz of Poland crashing out 7-6(4) 6-3 while eighth seed Florian Mayer was later ousted by veteran Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 6-2.
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament round one results
Nikolay Davydenko (Russia) beat 8-Florian Mayer (Germany) 6-3 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) beat Bernard Tomic (Australia) 6-3 3-6 6-3
Matteo Viola (Italy) beat Marcel Granollers (Spain) 5-7 6-3 6-1
Gilles Simon (France) beat Daniel Brands (Germany) 7-6(3) 6-4
Martin Klizan (Slovakia) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) 6-4 3-6 7-5
Victor Hanescu (Romania) beat Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 7-6(4) 6-3
Igor Sijsling (Netherlands) beat 3-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4