It was a good day to be a former champion at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, as a few familiar faces got off to winning starts on the red clay.
Fernando Verdasco, who earned many a fan in 2014 when he tore through the draw to collect his first U.S. Clay title, kicked off Center Court play against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. The Spaniard needed nearly two hours to dismantle the big server 7-6(4) 7-6(4). Verdasco now owns 199 match-wins on clay, and is looking to become the eighth active player to notch 200. He sets up a second round meeting with Argentina’s Nicolas Kicker.
In the final match of the night on Center Court, 61 Grand Slam titles and six Olympic medals were represented. The six-time champion Bryan Brothers raced off to a quick start, needing just 23 minutes to capture the opening set off Leander Paes and Andre Sa 6-0. They went on to defeat two-time U.S. Men's Clay Court champion Paes and his Brazilian partner in straight sets. This marked the twin tandem's 37th match-win at the tournament, making them the winningest players (singles or doubles) in the Open Era (previously Jimmy Connors with 36).
Other notable winners around the grounds include two-time semifinalist Feliciano Lopez, NextGenATP stars Ernesto Escobedo and Hyeon Chung, and qualifiers Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer.
Lopez didn’t lose a single point on his first serve in the second set, going 13 for 13, en route to downing American wild card Bjorn Fratangelo. Escobedo came out on top in the all-American affair on Center Court with Tennys Sandgren, who was making his ATP singles main draw debut. For the second year in a row, Chung ousted Victor Estrella Bugros in the opening round of play at River Oaks in three sets.
Check out all of Wednesday’s results HERE. All second round singles matches will take place Thursday at River Oaks, with play beginning at 12 noon.