MEMPHIS, February 9, 2016
With the Memphis Open the first North American tournament of the season started on Monday with the early stage of the main draw matches of the opening round. It is the 40th anniversary of the ATP 250 event held at Racquet Club of Memphis.
Five US-Americans were scheduled on Day 1 when fifth seed Denis Kudla cruised past Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-2. The 23-year-old from Tampa didn’t face a break point, converting three of his own to advance in only 56 minutes. Kudla will take on Mikhail Kukushkin next, who beat Luca Vanni 6-4, 7-6 in one hour and 27 minutes.
In another all-US-American-affair, Ryan Harrison overcame one of five teenagers in the draw Frances Tiafoe, winning 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Harrison had to save one match point, hitting five aces to prevail in two and a half hours. He will next play the tournament’s top-seed and three time-reigning champion Kei Nishikori.
Yoshihito Nishioka emerged victorious from the battle of the qualifiers with another US-American teen Jared Donaldson, winning 6-3, 6-4. The 20-year-old Japanese won 76% of his first service points and saved all of the eight break points he faced to finish the match after one hour and 30 minutes. Nishioka is facing Illya Marchenko next, who knocked out sixth seed Sam Groth through a 7-6, 7-6 victory in one hour and 53 minutes.