By Neil-Monticelli Harley-RuddJulien Benneteau gained revenge for defeat earlier this season with a 7-6 6-2 triumph over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson on Court 1 on Tuesday.The French flair paid dividends after snatching the opening set 7-4, partly due to a late shoulder injury that caused his big serving opponent problems, then sweeping up victory with aplomb.No5 seed Anderson, arguably one of the most improved players on the ATP Tour, was slow off the starting blocks in an edgy encounter. And he had only himself to blame for losing the opening set with some indifferent strokes against the finesse of Benneteau.Facing break point to gift Benneteau the set, the world no23 held his nerve and with his trademark thundering serves forced a tiebreak.Three breaks of serve in the tiebreak left Anderson nervously facing two set points trailing 6-4. He drove his first serve into the net and on the second serve he stayed back as a conservative and long rally ensued – the South African unfortunate to lose the point after his thumping shot caught the top of the net and span into the tramlines.
Sensing that victory was within his grasp, Benneteau took control of the game with a series of angled shots and utilising the power of Anderson’s heavy returns with a trampoline effect.
The South African’s guns were not firing bullets after his niggling injury flared up in the opening set, so it was Benneteau who shot down Anderson to start the scattering of seeds at Eastbourne.