Kyrgios Bounces Back in Houston Debut
Nick Kyrgios has overcome a slow start in his first clay-court singles outing of the season to see off the threat of home hopeful Bjorn Fratangelo in the second round of the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship on Wednesday night. In his River Oaks debut, the 22-year-old Australian rebounded for a 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2 victory over Fratangelo, the No.108 in the ATP Rankings.
The American had registered a win over Kyrgios’s countryman Jordon Thompson in the opening round on Monday. That same day, Kyrgios had opened his Houston doubles campaign, partnering good friend and countryman Matt Reid in a loss to Ivo Karlovic and Daniel Nestor.
After his fourth ATP World Tour-level title and first on home soil at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp in January, Kyrgios backed it up with a solid run to the fourth round at the Australian Open. But back and right elbow injuries have since stunted the Aussie’s impressive start to the season, forcing his withdrawal from four tournaments before he reached the fourth round at the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Zverev) last month.
Kyrgios has a shot at avenging his opening-round doubles loss when he meets Ivo Karlovic in his next singles outing. Kyrgios, the World No. 24, has never lost to the Croatian in four prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Karlovic earlier edged past qualifier Denis Kudla 7-5, 7-5.
Argentine Guido Pella pulled off the upset of the day when he surprised second-seeded American Sam Querrey 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Pella had lost to the World No. 14 in their only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter in the first round at the US Open in 2013.
Querrey had finished runner-up in Houston twice before (20010, 2015). The Argentine surged back from 2-4 down in the deciding set and served for the match at 6-5 before closing it out on his second match point in the deciding set tie-break. He will next meet American No. 8 seed Tennys Sandgren, a 6-2, 7-6(3) over Pella’s countryman Nicolas Kicker.