Fifth seed Kevin Anderson was among Tuesday's first-round losers at the $625,000 Aegon International, a final grass-court Wimbledon tune-up.
Quality Frenchman Julien Benneteau doused the 6-foot-8 South African Anderson 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 at Devonshire Park.
Meanwhile, Aussie Bernard Tomic stopped a three-match losing streak by handling British wild card James Ward 6-3, 6-4 and Czech veteran Radek Stepanek drilled Aussie Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-2.
In other opening-round play, Croat Ivan Dodig whipped Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-4, Slovak Martin Klizan leveled Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-2, and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez snuck past Finnish fellow left-hander Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5).
Top seeds Milos Raonic and Gilles Simon and Eastbourne stalwart Andreas Seppi will play second-round matches on Wednesday. The 2011 Eastbourne champion Seppi was last year's runner-up to since-retired American Andy Roddick.