American young gun Jack Sock kicked off his title defense Thursday at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship with a straight sets win over Matthew Barton.
Sock - who is bidding to be the first back-to-back champion at this event since Andy Roddick in 2001-2002 - lost just six points on his first serve en route to a 6-3 7-6(5) win against the Aussie qualifier.
He’s through to the quarterfinals here for a third straight year and is set to face Marcos Baghdatis.
Former semifinalist Feliciano Lopez advanced to the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship quarterfinals for the second straight year and third time in four appearances, defeating Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 7-6(4) 6-1.
He’ll face off with American wild card Tim Smyczek, who ousted fellow countryman Donald Young 6-2 6-4.
With today’s wins from Smyczek and Sock, there are now four Americans in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012, as they join John Isner and Sam Querrey who both won Wednesday.
Querrey is through to the the doubles semifinals with fellow American Steve Johnson after defeating Chris Guccione and Andre Sa 10-8 in the super tiebreak. They await the winner of the Bryan Brothers versus the 18-year-old American duo of Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul.
Hyeon Chung of Korea and Julio Peralta of Chile got a walkover in to the semifinals after No.2 seed Philipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya had to withdraw due to injury.
They’ll meet Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos and Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez, who ousted the No.3 seed American duo of Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky 6-4 7-6(4).
For Thursday’s full results click HERE.