MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canadian wildcard Vasek Pospisil surged to an unlikely but well-deserved first round win over in-form American John Isner at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday as Rafael Nadal slipped quietly back into competition with an opening doubles triumph.
The 71st ranked Pospisil came from a set and a break down to claim a 5-7 7-6(5) 7-6(4) victory in bright and sunny conditions, thrilling a parochial home crowd who cheered his every winner from the outset.
Isner, who won the Atlanta title two weeks ago before being beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro in the Washington final last Sunday, initially appeared unfazed by the vocal support his opponent enjoyed as he took control in the early stages.
But Pospisil responded with shot-making that belied his wildcard status and with the crowd inspiring his every move, he upset a tiring Isner to claim a significant scalp.
Adding to the hosts’ delight, another Canadian wildcard, Frank Dancevic, also rallied to beat Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu in three sets while Felip Peliwo became the fourth Canadian to reach the last 32 when Finland’s Jarko Nieminen retired from their match with a pulled hamstring trailing 3-1 in the decider.
Nadal’s first competitive match since his shock first round exit at Wimbledon was a successful one as he and partner Pablo Andujar saved two match points before they beat their Spanish compatriots David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez 6-7(2) 6-1 12-10.
Nadal’s singles campaign begins on Wednesday against another Canadian still in the main draw, Jesse Levine.
World number 18 Jerzy Janowicz battled some internal demons before winning an error-strewn opening match on centre court against Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
Like Isner, Janowicz, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last month, relies so heavily on his serve and it came to his rescue in a Jekyll and Hyde performance as he also required a decider to book his place in the second round.
Italian Fabio Fognini continued his impressive form with a three-set defeat of Marcos Baghdatis while a seed to fall was Nicolas Almagro who lost to Czech Radek Stepanek.
Later on Tuesday, top seed and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic plays his first match since losing the Wimbledon final to Andy Murray.
Djokovic will meet Germany’s 50th ranked Florian Mayer.
Editing by Martyn Herman