US qualifier Steve Johnson upset second-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-5 to reach the third round of the ATP Winston-Salem Open on Tuesday.
“Definitely played really well today,” said Johnson, a two-time US collegiate champion who needed 2 hours, 19 minutes to get past Seppi.
“Felt like everything I’ve been working on for the last four, five, six months kind of came together, so it’s nice to see the hard work pay off in big situations,” he added.
The 23-year-old notched his fourth match win of the season and the seventh of his ATP career.
He next faces Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun for a place in the quarter-finals.
Mardy Fish retired unwell, granting Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen a third-round meeting with the US’ Sam Querrey.
Nieminen was leading 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 3-2 when Fish called it quits.
Fifth-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire ousted James Blake 7-6 (11/9), 2-6, 6-3 and seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco rallied to beat Tim Smyczek 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Paire next faces ninth-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who was up 4-2 in the third set when Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands retired with a toe injury.
Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, ranked 126th in the world, dispatched Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-4 in 63 minutes. Berankis will try to reach his third quarter-final of the season when he takes on Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat 14th seed Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1.
Eighth seed Juan Monaco survived a second-round scare, battling past France’s Nicolas Mahut 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours, 26 minutes.
He next faces Alexandr Dolgopolov, who came back for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Russians Dmitry Tursunov and Alex Bogomolov Jr booked a third-round clash, Tursonov beating Belgian David Goffin 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and Bogomolov beating lucky loser Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-1.
French 15th seed Gael Monfils cruised into the third round, downing Guido Pella 6-2, 6-2 in just 53 minutes.
However, fourth-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo fought off a determined challenge from France’s Guillaume Rufin 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-3.
In the men’s doubles, Lu and his Czech partner Jaroslav Levinsky were beaten 6-1, 7-5 by Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Filip Polasek of Slovakia.
Additional reporting by staff writer