Steve Johnson claimed a 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the New York Open. The 75th-ranked Johnson won for the first time in three career appearances on Long Island and will face Andreas Seppi in the second round.
Sandgren played for the first time since squandering seven match points in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and has lost both career meetings to Johnson on the ATP level.
Johnson picks up quality victory in three sets
The first five games saw the server lose just three points combined with Sandgren the first to get to 30 in the sixth game. He was broken at the first time of asking, Johnson taking a 5-4 lead.
Serving for the set, the 75th-ranked Johnson was immediately broken back and a tiebreaker would eventually decide the set. The first six points of the tiebreaker went the way of the server until minibreaks were traded. At 5-5, Sandgren took the last two points of the set to claim a one-set lead.
Johnson had the first chances of the second set in the fourth game at 0-40. After watching Sandgren save the first two, he played a brilliant drop shot on the third to take a 3-1 lead. He was close to falling behind a double break in the sixth game, but strong serving got him out of a 0-40 hole.
Serving for the set at 5-3, Johnson lost the first point, but rallied to hold and level the match at one set all. The third set saw Sandgren save a break point in the third game while Johnson fought off three in a marathon 16-point eighth game. Both men would hold their final two service games, a tiebreaker to decide the match.
Johnson gained the immediate edge with a minibreak in the very first point and a brilliant backhand winner set up four match points at 6-2. He converted on his second opportunity to close out the two hour, 24 minute