Verdasco looks ahead to 'difficult' Ivo
Top-seeded and ninth-ranked Fernando Verdasco seemed a little nervous talking about his next opponent at the SAP Open.
The Spaniard needed only an hour to advance on Wednesday night, beating American Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-2 in a first-round match.
Verdasco meets Croatia's Ivo Karlovic in the second round. Karlovic, who was a semifinalist here four years ago, topped American Ryan Sweeting 6-4, 6-4.
"He is one of the most difficult players to play against," Verdasco said. "Maybe he won't serve so well and I'll win the match, but I can't count on that."
The defending champion in the event, Verdasco recorded eight aces and won 88 percent of his first service points. Karlovic is out of the top 100 for the first time since 2007.
"I'm just looking to my next match," he said. "I need to serve well because he doesn't give you many chances with his serve. I'll try to return what I can."
In second-round matches, Lithuanian Richard Berankis beat American Donald Young 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 and Canada's Milos Raonic beat American James Blake 6-2, 7-6 (4).
"I'm playing well; I'm playing confidently," said Raonic, who made a surprise run to the round of 16 at the Australian Open. "Everything is coming together. I believe a lot in myself, my team, and the work I've done."
The 74th-ranked Berankis, who beat the eighth-seeded Benjamin Becker in the first round, meets Raonic, who recorded 13 aces in the win over Blake, in the quarterfinals. The 20-year-old Berankis reached his second career ATP quarterfinal.
In another first-round match, American Robert Kendrick downed Russian Igor Kunitsyn 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 and will meet No. 2 seed Gael Monfils, who beat wild card Bradley Klahn, 6-3, 6-2.
Klahn, a junior at nearby Stanford University and the defending NCAA singles champion, is ranked 792nd in the world, while Monfils, who beat Pete Sampras in an exhibition match Monday night, is ranked 12th.
Klahn is also in the doubles competition after he and partner Ryan Thacher combined to beat third-seeded Dustin Brown and Rogier Wassen on Tuesday night.