The US’ Jack Sock defeated former champion Ivo Karlovic 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship on Monday in Houston, Texas.
The 21-year-old Sock had lost both previous meetings with the 2.08m tall Karlovic, who won the only ATP Tour clay-court event in the US in 2007.
Sock broke the eighth-seeded Croatian’s huge serve twice in the first set and won in less than an hour at the River Oaks Country Club.
It was a different story for Sock’s countryman, Sam Querrey, who had to battle to get past Alex Bogomolov Jr of Russia 6-4, 7-6 (6).
“Right now, I’ll take one [a win] pretty much however I can get it,” said Querrey, whose ranking has plummeted from a high of No. 17 in 2011 to 82nd now.
Querrey, the 2010 runner-up in Houston, has not advanced into the third round of a tournament since the Australian Open in January.
“It’s the first time I’ve been able to grind through a tough match like that all year,” he said. “Hopefully, it will lead to more wins and better results.”
In the day’s other matches, Germany’s Dustin Brown beat the US’ Rhyne Williams 6-1, 6-2, while Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia rallied to eliminate wild card Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Defending champion and top seed John Isner received a first-round bye and will play Brown in the second round today.
GRAND PRIX HASSAN II
AP, CASABLANCA, Morocco
Fifth-seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal beat Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-4 on Monday to reach the second round of the Grand Prix Hassan II tournament.
Sousa broke Sijsling twice in each set and won 81 percent of his first-serve points and next plays against either David Goffin of Begium or Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.
Carlos Berlocq of Argentina also advanced with a comfortable 6-4, 6-1 win against Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia.
Berlocq broke Gabashvili’s serve four times and the Russian player struggled throughout on his serve, making eight double-faults and getting only 37 percent of his first serves in.
The Argentine player next faces either eighth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain or Mikhail Kukushkin, who played for Kazakhstan in their 3-2 defeat to Switzerland in the Davis Cup quarter-finals last weekend.