US teenager Ryan Harrison celebrated his move into the world’s top 100 with a three-set first-round victory over Richard Berankis at the ATP Los Angeles hard-court tournament on Tuesday.
Harrison, who reached his first career semi-final in Atlanta last week, rallied from a set and a break down to notch a 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-3 victory over Lithuania’s Berankis, who is only 21.
“I was down a set and 4-2 and he had a game point on his serve,” Harrison said. “I was four points from being out of there. To get through one of those matches early in the tournament, it’s like a kick-start.”
Harrison was already riding high after breaking into the top 100 at 94 after reaching the final four in Atlanta.
Another 19-year-old, Daniel Kosakowski, won his first match at the ATP level as he defeated fellow qualifier Tim Smyczek 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Kosakowski completed his first season representing the University of California, Los Angeles in May, but says he is now going pro.
In the second round, he’ll face Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, who snapped a five-match losing streak with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) upset of fifth-seeded Belgian Xavier Malisse.
Gulbis had not won a match since the second round at the Nice Open in May.
Eighth-seeded Russian Igor Kunitsyn advanced on schedule, beating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-4, 6-3 to book his place in the second round.
Kunitsyn saved all five break points he faced and broke Gonzalez three times.
Another US university standout was in action on Tuesday as Steve Johnson, the reigning collegiate champion for the University of Southern California, took on Luxembourg veteran Gilles Muller.
Johnson delighted the California fans by taking the first set off Muller, before the Luxembourg player came back to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Johnson didn’t go quietly. After dropping his serve in the seventh game of the final set he saved two match points in the ninth game to force Muller to serve out for the win.
Late on Monday, Michael Russell provided an upset on the opening day of the tournament, ousting sixth-seeded Dimitry Tursunov 6-7 (5/7), 6-0, 6-2.
AP, UMAG, CROATIA
Defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain defeated Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina to advance to the second round of the Croatia Open on Tuesday.
Ferrero — coming back from wrist and knee injuries — overcame a slow start and had rallied to go into the third set when Gonzalez retired because of a back injury at 3-6, 6-3, 1-1.
“It’s never nice to win [a] match like this,” Ferrero said of his opponent retiring.
He added the match with Ljubicic could be “the match of the tournament.”
“It is a tough second round for both of us. It would be better to have [a] match like this in [the] semi-finals or finals, but what can we do?” he said.
Also on Tuesday, Potito Starace of Italy defeated Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-1 and Robin Haase of the Netherlands beat Simone Vagnozzi of Italy 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Later, Italy’s Filippo Volandri easily beat Croatian wild-card Mate Pavic 6-4, 6-0 and Olivier Rochus of Belgium defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4. Carlos Berlocq of Argentina overcame Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4.
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