The 2017 Winston-Salem Open continued Tuesday, with top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut among the marquee names in action at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Bautista Agut reached the final of last year's tournament before falling to fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. He's set to open this year's event against Dusan Lajovic in the second round.
Fernando Verdasco, the 2009 champion, also took the court Tuesday to face off with Horacio Zeballos, while John Isner, the highest-seeded American in the tournament, opened his account against Andrey Kuznetsov.
Below are the results from Tuesday and a recap of the biggest matches.
No. 1 Roberto Bautista Agut def. Dusan Lajovic; 6-4, 6-3
No. 6 Steve Johnson def. Yen-Hsun Lu; 6-4, 6-3
No. 3 John Isner def. Andrey Kuznetsov; 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3
Julien Benneteau def. No. 2 Pablo Carreno Busta; 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3
No. 14 Borna Coric def. Donald Young; 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Horacio Zeballos def. No. 8 Fernando Verdasco; 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
Taylor Fritz def. No. 10 Yuichi Sugita; 6-3, 6-2
Kyle Edmund def. No. 15 Daniil Medvedev; 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(6)
Damir Dzumhur def. No. 9 Gilles Simon; 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
No. 13 Hyeon Chung def. Andrey Rublev; 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
Carlos Berlocq def. No. 11 Viktor Troicki; 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Marton Fucsovics def. No. 17 Joao Sousa; 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Andreas Seppi def. No. 12 Aljaz Bedene; 6-4, 7-5
No. 7 Paolo Lorenzi def. Thiago Monteiro; 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
John Isner Overcomes Sluggish Start to Prevail in Three Sets
Isner received all he could handle from Kuznetsov, dropping the first set before getting things back on track and earning a three-set win.
It's no coincidence Isner's fortunes turned as his service game improved over the course of the match. In the first set, he had two aces and one double-fault and won eight of his 15 first-service points. Between the second and third sets, his ace total climbed to 11, while he had four double-faults. Most importantly, he dropped just five of his 37 first-service points.
Finding a comfort zone with his serve was important for Isner since he won two fewer return points (23) than Kuznetsov (25) for the match.
Roberto Bautista Agut Opens with Straight-Set Victory
Bautista Agut needed just two sets to brush Lajovic aside. The U.S. Open's official Twitter account shared a replay of match point as the 2016 runner-up sealed a 6-4, 6-3 win:
"I am used to having my serve broken, but I also get service breaks, too," Bautista Agut said of the victory, per the Winston-Salem Journal's Doug Mead. "One of my better shots is my return (of serve). Today I think I made a lot of good returns. It was a good start."
Lajovic successfully converted three of his four break-point opportunities. That could've spurred an upset for the 27-year-old Serb had he not allowed eight break-point chances of his own. Bautista Agut converted on three of the chances, which was a decisive factor in what was otherwise a competitive match.
Fernando Verdasco out in Second Round
Verdasco exited the Western & Southern Open in the first round after falling to Mischa Zverev in straight sets. For the second tournament in a row, Verdasco was unable to get in the win column before bowing out after he dropped a three-setter to Zeballos.
Verdasco will likely wonder what happened considering he won four more points over the entire match. Zeballos also double-faulted seven times and won 41 percent of his second-service points.
Slow starts doomed Verdasco in the final two sets. He dug himself into a 1-3 hole in each of the second and third sets after losing the first game. In the case of the second, Verdasco fought back to tie the set at 5-5 before losing the final two games. In the third, though, he was unable to break Zeballos' serve.
Verdasco had one break point in the 10th game but was unable to convert, and Zeballos won the match two points later.
Wednesday Schedule (Full order of play available at ATPWorldTour.com)
No. 6 Steve Johnson vs. Carlos Berlocq
No. 1 Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Marcos Baghdatis
No. 3 John Isner vs. No. 14 Borna Coric
Kyle Edmund vs. Marton Fucsovics
Taylor Fritz vs. No. 7 Paolo Lorenzi
Hyeon Chung or Andrey Rublev vs. Julien Benneteau or Pablo Carreno Busta