Four of eight seeded players were victorious on Saturday in first-round qualifying play at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men’s Clay Court Championship.
The battle for a spot in the main draw will resume on Monday due to rain.
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Top-seeded Henri Laaksonen survived a 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-4 test from North Carolina native Tommy Paul. The 26-year-old Swiss will take on Fort Worth’s Mitchell Krueger for a chance to play in his second straight US Clay main draw.
No. 5 seed Krueger advanced after a two-hour 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 battle against German Dominik Koepfer. Krueger, 25, has had success in Texas already this year, capturing his first Challenger title in Dallas in February.
Former Georgia Tech standout and No. 3 seed Chris Eubanks advanced with a straight-set win over Great Britain’s Jay Clarke, notching nine aces and saving seven of eight break points in the 75-minute match. He’ll face Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo, a 2014 semifinalist here in Houston, for a coveted main draw slot.
Darian King of Barbados upset Canadian No. 2 seed Peter Polansky 6-4, 6-1, while Serbia’s Pejda Krstin took out former seventh-seeded UCLA Bruin Marcos Giron. Polansky and Giron both arrived in Houston Saturday morning after playing quarterfinal matches at the Monterrey Challenger on Friday.
Daniel Elahi Galan and Roberto Quiroz also advanced.