Nick Kyrgios made a successful debut on Stadium Court Wednesday night at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, while No. 2 seed Sam Querrey made an early exit.
Bjorn Fratangelo threatened to spoil Nick Kyrgios’ River Oaks opener before the Australian found his rhythm in the second set. Kyrgios closed out the match in convincing fashion over the former Roland Garros Boys’ champion, notching a 6-7(2) 6-1 6-2 win.
“I hadn’t played a lot of tennis in the last couple of months,” Kyrgios told Tennis Channel after the match. “A lot of my buddies play this tournament all tell me it’s their favorite tournament of the year. I’m happy to be on the court and competing again.”
Kyrgios will face 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic, who defeated qualifier Denis Kudla 7-5 7-5. Karlovic is the oldest quarterfinalist at this event in the Open Era.
Guido Pella notched one of the biggest wins of his career with a marathon 2-6 7-6(4) 7-6(3) upset of Querrey. It’s not the 27-year-old Argentine’s first taste of clay-court success – the world No. 63 has previously reached clay finals in Rio de Janeiro and Munich.
In his third quarterfinal of the season, Pella will face No. 8 seed Tennys Sandgren, who took out Nicolas Kicker 6-2 7-6(3).
In doubles action, six-time Houston champions Bob and Mike Bryan opened their 2018 campaign with a 6-1 6-1 win over Taro Daniel and Yoshihito Nishioka. Last year’s doubles finalists Dustin Brown and Frances Tiafoe are one step closer to a repeat performance, taking out No. 2 seeds Ryan Harrison and Ben McLachlan 6-2 7-6(4) in the first round.
Top seed John Isner and No. 3 seed Jack Sock will take the court for the first time on Thursday. See the full order of play.