Tobias Kamke of Germany ousted James Blake of the United States 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (4) in the first round of the Farmers Classic at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Tuesday.
Blake lost the first four games of the match and was down 3-1 in the second set. He won five games and jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the final set, only to have Kamke fight back.
Kamke won four of the next five games to pull even at 5-5. He then won the final five points of the tiebreaker to hand the 32-year-old Blake his eighth loss in nine matches this year.
”I felt great the last two days of practice and I really don’t know what happened,” Blake said.
”I started slow. Even when I was winning, I felt like I was just scrapping out points and not dictating the way I wanted to. When I’m not doing that, I’m not playing my best and I’m not confident, and when you’re not confident in a tiebreaker you’re going to miss a couple of balls by centimeters or millimeters.
”I didn’t make a lot of first serves in that tiebreaker and didn’t give myself the chances I needed to. I can’t do that and expect to win out here.”
Kamke’s second-round opponent will be No.6 seed Marinko Matosevic who beat Australian compatriot Chris Guccione 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Blake joined a list of fellow Americans who were eliminated: Jesse Levine, Nicolas Meister and Bradley Klahn.
Levine was beaten 6-3, 6-4, by countryman Michael Russell, who at 34 is the oldest player in the field. Russell will next meet top-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire.
Meister, making his ATP Tour debut as a qualifier, fell to No. 5 seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-4, 6-1. Malisse’s next opponent is Australian Matthew Ebden, who edged German Michael Berrer 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Klahn, also a qualifier, lost to Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. Lorenzi will next meet No.4-seeded Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
Igor Andreev of Russia ousted Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (4), 6-4, and his second-round opponent will be Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis, who upset German No.7-seed Bjorn Phau 7-6 (8), 6-4.
Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (4), 6-3, setting up a match with No.2 seed Sam Querrey of the U.S..