Dodig, back on court for the first time since retiring in the
opening round of the French Open, showed no sign of rust as he
consigned Isner to a second consecutive first round loss.
Twice a winner this season, Isner got his North American hard court
campaign off to a confident start by picking up a ninth career title
two weeks ago in Atlanta.
However, the big-serving American has been misfiring ever since,
suffering an early exit to compatriot Steve Johnson last week in
Washington, followed by another shock loss in Toronto.
"I was really happy to play again and to beat Isner is a great win
for me for sure," said Dodig, who has watched his world ranking dip
to number 62.
"I hope I can continue. I'm just really happy to be again on the
court this is most important to me.
"He is the guy who can beat anybody and a great player for many
years. Today was tough match for both of us and I was a little bit
more lucky this time."
Isner was not the only big name to falter and he was joined in the
departure lounge by 14th seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who
was dispatched 7-6 (7) 6-3 by compatriot Feliciano Lopez.
The tournament got off to a stuttering start with morning and
afternoon matches interrupted by rain but despite the stormy
weather, the two other seeds in action on Day One, Marin Cilic and
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, progressed into the second round.
Croatian 15th seed Cilic, another two-time winner on the ATP Tour
this season, continued his domination of Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin
taking a 6-2 4-6 7-5 decision to improve his record to 5-1.
In an all-French battle 13th seeded Tsonga survived an early
challenge from Eduard Roger-Vasselin before easing to a 7-6 (3) 6-1
[to top of second column]
"It's always difficult when you didn't play for a few weeks but it was my
choice and I practiced a lot during those weeks," said Tsonga, after
playing his first match since a fourth round loss to Novak Djokovic at
"Of course, you know, when you come on the court for the first time
again, you want to be good. You want to see if your practice was good or
"So I was a little bit more stressful but in the second set I played
well. So it's good."
Australian former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, twice a winner this
season, never found his footing on the Canadian hard court falling 6-1
6-2 to Frenchman Julien Benneteau, playing his 242nd ATP Tour event and
still searching for a first title.
The Canadian stop is considered one of the key warmup events ahead of
the U.S. Open starting later this month and has again attracted a top
flight field that includes world number one Djokovic and 17-time grand
slam winner Roger Federer.
There is an added buzz surrounding this year's event in the hockey-mad
country after local players Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil clashed at
the Citi Open in Washington on Sunday, facing off in a first ever
all-Canadian ATP Tour final.
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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