On another start-and-stop day in Cincinnati, 10th seed and 2014 runner-up David Ferrer fell to French veteran Julien Bennetau 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a tight affair on Center Court.
The 34-year-old Spaniard struggled early on, with inconsistency wreaking havoc on his game to give Bennetau the early advantage. With his back against the wall down a set, Ferrer stepped up his level and played with a greater margin of error—which resulted in a dominant second set.
In the third, however, Benneteau once again seized the upper hand. The world No. 294, in on a protected ranking because of injury, produced some clutch serving when it mattered most to get the job done after one hour and 48 minutes.
But the big story of the day was 18-year-old American and 2015 Junior Wimbledon champion Reilly Opelka coming back from the brink an saving two match points to upend another Frenchman in Jeremy Chardy 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(9).
Out on Court 3, 6’11’’ teenager kept up his fine form from two weeks ago in Atlanta, where he made a surprise run to the semifinals. Following a convincing first set by Chardy, Opelka dug in and delivered some huge serving to apply pressure on the favorite while eventually leveling the match at a set all. From there Opelka’s serve only became more dangerous. The world No. 364 fought off the only break point he faced—as did Chardy—to set up a decisive tiebreaker. Opelka snagged a crucial mini-break at 9-9 before serving it out one point later.
Also picking up first-round wins on Monday were Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic, Pablo Cuevas, and Grigor Dimitrov. Anderson got a retirement from Alexandr Dolgopolov, Cilic beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4, Cuevas knocked off American hopeful and Wimbledon quarterfinalist Sam Querrey in three sets, and Dimitrov eased past Frenchman Gilles Simon.