Isner again gets bounced in first round, this time north of the border
TORONTO — John Isner was upset in his first match for the second straight tournament, losing to Ivan Dodig in the Rogers Cup on Monday night.
The 10th-seeded American had 13 aces in a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 loss to Dodig in the Croatian's first singles match in more than two months because of a broken rib. Isner managed to win a second-set tiebreak to stay alive, but Dodig earned a big break in the third set to grab control again.
Isner lost 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (6) to countryman Steve Johnson at the Citi Open in Washington on Wednesday, and then complained about his secondary court assignment. The loss to Dodig came on a grandstand court at Rexall Centre.
The match was originally scheduled for the afternoon in the stadium, but rain wreaked havoc on the day's schedule.
"Obviously it was not easy," Dodig said. "It was long day for us, and of course changing the court it's also a little bit like making you to think about it."
Isner was not made available to reporters.
In other night action, 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat fellow Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (3), 6-1, American qualifier Michael Russell eliminated France's Nicholas Mahut 6-3, 6-3 and Feliciano Lopez beat fellow Spainard Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7), 3-6.
The nightcap on center court featured Canadian wild card Peter Polansky beating 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Lleyton Hewitt and Julien Benneteau had to deal with two rain delays during their match earlier in the day. When it was finally over, Benneteau was headed to the second round.
Benneteau advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. The 32-year-old Frenchman to adjust on the fly after the second rain delay, which lasted two hours.
"I tried to keep the same momentum and the same rhythm of the match," Benneteau said. "I just tried to stay focused to be able to play the same way."
Benneteau was leading 4-1 in the first set when the first brief rain delay occurred. He was up 4-2 in the second when storms moving through the Toronto area halted action across the tournament.
"The rain delay, it's never easy but it's for both players," he said. "I had two break points before, 15-40 and then a deuce. So it's never easy."
Benneteau also said it's never easy facing Hewitt, even though the Aussie is 42nd now and 11 years removed from being atop the world rankings.
"He's a great fighter and to beat him you have to play solid," Benneteau said. "You have to do a good match. It's the kind of player that if your level is not good enough, you don't win."
No. 15 seed Marin Cilic also moved on with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win against Denis Istomin. The Croatian said Istomin was dealing with a shoulder injury that led to some unpredictability.
"He had some shots were coming off good, some not, and it was difficult to know what was going to come," Cilic said. "It got a bit complicated."
In other early action, France's Jeremy Chardy beat Argentina's Federico Delbonis, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, French qualifier Benoit Paire defeated Colombian Alejandro Falla, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, and American qualifier Tim Smyczek downed German qualifier Tobias Kamke, 6-3, 6-2.
The lengthy rain delay caused some changes to Monday's schedule. The Rogers Cup Hall of Fame induction ceremony was also postponed because of the weather. Stefan Edberg and former Rogers Cup Master of Ceremonies Don Goodwin will now be inducted Tuesday night.
In women's action ...
MONTREAL — Sabine Lisicki upset 13th-seeded Sara Errani 6-1, 7-5 in the first round of the Rogers Cup on Monday.
Errani, the 2012 French Open runner-up, is most comfortable on clay, while the 29th-ranked Lisicki likes the faster surfaces. Lisicki, the 2013 Wimbledon runner-up, hit the fastest recorded serve in WTA history (131 mph) last week at Stanford.
Errani was serving for the second set at 5-3 but let the lead slip away. Lisicki next plays Svetlana Kuznetsova or Madison Keys in the $2.44 million U.S. Open tuneup.
American Sloane Stephens used an accurate serve and steady pressure to eliminate Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-3, 6-0.
Stephens, ranked 22nd in the world, was never in trouble against the 26-year-old Wozniak, who is trying to battle back to her career-high No. 21 ranking after years of arm and shoulder trouble.
"She really played well," Wozniak said. "She served at a high percentage, 75 percent, and it was tough to return.
"It wasn't easy, for sure. You have a warrior mentality, you want to fight for every point, but she played great tennis. I didn't expect that. She played a perfect match."
Dominika Cibulkova advanced with a hard-fought 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 victory over 17-year-old crowd favorite Francoise Abanda. The Slovak righted herself in the third set and sealed the victory with an ace.
The 10th-seeded Cibulkova takes on Britain's Heather Watson in the next round. Watson edged Tereza Smitkova 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in a battle of qualifiers.
American qualifier Shelby Rogers downed Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 7-6 (5) to set up a second-round meeting with the star attraction of this year's event, fifth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.
"I think it will be fun," said Rogers, who beat Bouchard in three sets in a lower-level tournament in 2011 in Troy, Alabama. "Obviously the crowd is going to be for her, and I'm the underdog. I think it's kind of a fun story.
"There's no pressure. I'm just going to go out, play my game, do my best and try to enjoy the moment as much as I can."
Bouchard, who reached the Wimbledon final last month, is drawn to face defending champion Serena Williams in the Montreal quarterfinals.
The world No. 1 said 20-year-old Bouchard will be a stiff test, if it happens.
"I think she has a really good chance," Williams said. "She's had a stellar year, to be honest.
"She's done better than me in a lot of the tournaments. Yeah, I think it will be a really good matchup. I hope I can get there. I feel like she'll be there regardless."
Wiliams, coming off a win Sunday at Stanford, has won the Rogers Cup three times when it was held in Toronto, but has not played in Montreal since 2000, when she was forced to retire from the third set of the final with an injury.
No. 15 seed Lucie Safarova, Alize Cornet and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova also moved on. Safarova beat Sorena Cirstea 6-4, 6-2, and Cornet eliminated qualifier Lauren Davis 6-3, 7-5. Zahlavova Strycova ousted Roberta Vinci of Italy with a 7-5, 7-5 win. Magdalena Rybarikova was a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Alison Riske.
After Cibulkova's win, a ceremony was held to induct Arantxa Sanchez Vicario into the tournament Hall of Fame.
The former world No. 1 reached the final of the Canadian Open, now called the Rogers Cup, five times between 1989 and 1998, winning twice in Montreal in 1992 and 1994.
"I know they were great finals," the Barcelona native. "I definitely had to beat Steffi (Graf) and Monica (Seles). They were my biggest rivals at the moment.
"I remember the crowd was always behind me. I feel like at home here in Montreal. As I say, it was one of my favorite tournaments to come and play. In that era, I was probably one of the players that was doing really well in this tournament, and I was fighting to win the trophy. I have great memories."