On paper, 29-year-old serve-and-volleyer Julien Benneteau doesn't look to have the advantage in a contest against the more accomplished dirtballer Nicolas Almagro.
But on the hard courts of the US Open, the Frenchman's all-court tactics proved superior to the Spaniard's method of baseline bashing, as Benneteau, who entered the tournament as a wild card, took out the No. 10 seed to advance into the second round.
In his 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 upset, Benneteau sent blistering serves across the net with pinpoint accuracy, jamming Almagro on returns. With his aggressive offense, Benneteau kept his opponent on the ropes for most of the rallies, limiting Alamgro's chances of earning points with his strength on the backhand wing. In addition, he moved well and took time away from Almagro, converting on 18 of 25 plays at the net.
In the critical moments of the match, he showed the strongest nerve, converting on six of 10 break point chances.
The Frenchman is coming off a runner-up finish at Winston-Salem the week before the Open, an indication that he is working to improve his hard court results.