Beating one of his country’s top players and the tournament’s No. 1 seed meant a lot to Tim Smyczek.
Smyczek defeated fellow American Sam Querrey in the opening round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships 6-4, 7-6 (8) on Tuesday on Newport’s grass courts.
”I think it’s the first time I’ve ever beaten a No. 1 seed at a tournament. It’s definitely a big deal for me,” he said. ”It was pretty neat to play Sam, who’s been one of the top Americans for a long time, somebody I’ve just tried to catch up to.”
Querrey, a 2009 Newport finalist and ranked 21st in the world, was broken in the seventh game by the 120th-ranked Smyczek.
”I couldn’t really find a flow out there. I was a little off the whole time,” Querrey said.
In the tiebreaker, Querrey saved match point twice — both with aces — but hit a backhand return into the net on the final point.
It was the second match this year between the two. Querrey won in straight sets at Indian Wells in March.
”I knew he plays aggressive and has a big game,” Smyczek said. ”I was just trying to keep him from taking it to me.”
Querrey seemed frustrated from the start, at one point uttering ”ridiculous” to himself after hitting a forehand shot wide in the eighth game in humid conditions, with breaks of sun peeking through mostly cloudy skies.
In the tiebreaker, Smyczek jumped ahead 3-1 before Querrey battled back, grabbing a 5-4 lead. Trailing 6-5, Querrey had the first of his two match-saving aces.
Querrey had 16 aces to Smyczek’s two.
Fourth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, a runner-up in Newport last year, beat fellow Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-1.
Third-seeded Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands beat Italy’s Matteo Viola 6-4, 6-1; Ivo Karlovic of Croatia defeated fifth-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 7-6 (5), 6-4; Canadian Vasek Pospisil beat American Denis Kudla 1-6, 6-3, 6-3; and wild card Prakash Amritraj of India beat Italy’s Flavio Cipolla 6-2, 6-3.
Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic won a match of qualifiers, defeating Ante Pavic of Croatia 7-6 (6), 6-3. Eighth-seeded American Rajeev Ram beat Adrien Bossel of Switzerland 6-2, 6-2, and American Jack Sock advanced when No. 6-seeded Marinko Matosevic of Australia retired because of food poisoning after losing the first set 6-2.
France’s Nicolas Mahut beat American Rhyne Williams 6-2, 6-4; No. 7 seed Kenny De Schepper of France defeated American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4; and American Michael Russell outlasted Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.