Julien Benneteau had to wait out two rain delays, but once he did the reward was a victory over a former world No. 1.
Weather aside, Benneteau had little trouble dusting off Lleyton Hewitt, 6-1, 6-2, on centre court to advance to the second round at the Rogers Cup. The second rain delay, which lasted two hours, forced the 32-year-old Frenchman to adjust on the fly.
“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 his and every other match taking place.
“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.”
Earlier in the day on centre court, 15th-seeded Marin Cilic got pushed to the limit before beating Denis Istomin, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. 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.”
Cilic will play the winner of a night match between Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Malek Jaziri in the second round.
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, as the top-seeded player in action, No. 10 John Isner, had his afternoon match against Ivan Dodig moved to the grandstand at night.
Thirteenth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faced Edouard Roger-Vasselin on centre court after Hewitt’s loss. Wild card Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., was set to play Jerzy Janowicz under the lights in the final match of the night.
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.