ATP Houston: Americans Lead Charge On Day Two
Tommy Paul. Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCC

There was a full schedule on day two at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston on Tuesday, with seven Americans in action, including two all-American clashes. The first round was wrapped up in Houston with a ton of matches being contested, so let’s take a look back at what happened on day two.

Results

The first match of the day was the most surprising. Seventh seed Marcos Baghdatis was magnificent, and claimed the first double bagel victory of his career, topping Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-0 in 48 minutes. The Cypriot did not face a single break point an won 65 percent of his return points in the route.

There were a pair of all-American matches on Tuesday. The first pitted sixth seed Steve Johnson as perennial underdog Donald Young. It was the lefty who pulled the upset in Houston, defeating Johnson 6-4, 6-3. Young poured the pressure on the Johnson serve, reaching break point nine times and converting four of them. In the second set, he did not allow a single break point opportunity against his own serve.

Sam Querrey on Tuesday in Houston. Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCC
Sam Querrey on Tuesday in Houston. Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCC

The other battle saw fifth seed Sam Querrey defeat lucky loser Reilly Opelka 6-4, 7-6(4). Opelka did not have any answers to Querrey’s power in the early stages, not reaching break point on the fifth seeds serve. A single break was enough for the two-time Houston runner-up, but he faced a bigger challenge in the second set and the Americans exchanged breaks before Querrey pulled through in a tiebreak.

A pair of American young guns suffered opposite fates on Tuesday, as Tommy Paul advanced in straight sets, while Frances Tiafoe was sent packing. Paul pulled the upset of eighth seed Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-3. The 18-year-old was brilliant on break points, saving three out of four against his serve, while converting four out of five on offence to wrap up the victory in just over an hour. Tiafoe fell to Australian qualifier Matthew Barton 6-3, 6-4. The Aussie was dominant on serve, pounding nine aces and winning 84 percent of his first serve points.

Fernando Verdasco. Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCC
Fernando Verdasco during his win on Tuesday. Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCC

Overall, the Americans finished the day with a winning record, as Tim Smyczek battled past qualifier Nicolas Kicker 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4. Smyczek blasted 11 aces and survived seven of ten break points to claim victory in two hours and 34 minutes.

In other action, former world number seven Fernando Verdasco advanced over Argentinian qualifier Carlos Berlocq in straight sets. Lukas Lacko also got through in straight sets over Dimitry Tursunov. An all-German affair saw Benjamin Becker finish strong to knock off countryman Michael Berrer 7-6(6), 6-0.

The second round will get underway tomorrow with four matches, including the top two seeds, John Isner and Lucas Pouille, kicking off their campaigns. 

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