Australian Bernard Tomic endured another North American hard-court defeat on Sunday, exiting the opening round of the ATP tournament here to go into the US Open with plenty to prove.
The 61st-ranked player from Queensland notched his only ATP match win since Wimbledon in the first round at Montreal, where he beat Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun.
He then fell to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and lost his opener in Cincinnati last week to France’s Julien Benneteau.
On Sunday, it was Russian Igor Andreev who sent Tomic packing 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 in little more than two hours in a contest peppered with 22 aces in the first round of the ATP’s new Winston-Salem stop.
American James Blake lined up a date with Dutch 10th seed Robin Haase by defeating Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-1.
Blake, a former top-five regular, said he quickly got accustomed to the game of his opponent in a first time meeting.
Andreev, known for his clay success, played excellent defense as he saved all nine break points he faced.
He broke Tomic’s serve twice as he avenged a five-set loss to the Aussie teenager at Wimbledon.
Tomic reached the quarter--finals at the All England Club, but that success hasn’t been followed up and the youngster heads to his first US Open main draw lacking match toughness.
Tomic’s exit leaves two-time Grand Slam winner Lleyton Hewitt to fly the Aussie flag. However, the one-time No. 1 now ranked 165, who has not played for nearly a month thanks to a nagging problem with his foot, will likely be tested in his opening match against Slovenian Blaz Kavcic.
In other opening-day matches, American Ryan Sweeting defeated Belgium’s Olivier Rochus 6-3, 7-5.
German Tobias Kamke hammered Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-1, 6-0.