Recovering Tipsarevic shocks Sandgren at US Men’s Clay Court Championships
Wildcard Janko Tipsarevic continued his comeback from injury with a stunning victory over 2018 runner-up Tennys Sandgren at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships, as five home nation players crashed out on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Serbian arrived in Houston, Texas, to play only his third tour event of the season but showed little rust while taking the first set in resounding fashion.
Tipsarevic missed the majority of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with recurring hamstring problems, having returned in 2016 after suffering from a benign foot tumor, and has since undergone seven surgeries.
American Sandgren, who was beaten by compatriot Steve Johnson in last year’s final, steadied his game to force a second set tiebreaker but Tipsarevic rolled back the years once again to come through 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
The former world number eight will go on to face British third seed Cameron Norrie in the second round while, in the same side of the draw, sixth seed Mackenzie McDonald crashed out against Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.
The world number 124, who recorded a first round win at the Australian Open, continued his rise with a 6-3 6-4 triumph against 59th ranked McDonald.
After fellow American Taylor Fritz, seeded fifth, had fallen on Monday, eighth seed Sam Querrey bucked the trend with a 6-3 6-4 victory over compatriot Bjorn Fratangelo.
Australia’s Jordan Thompson also clinched his place in the second round, with the seventh seed storming through in straight sets against Serbian Pedja Krstin 7-5 6-2.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez went to a decider with American wildcard Noah Rubin, with the Spaniard advancing 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3.
There were also first round wins for a pair of Colombian qualifiers: Daniel Galan, over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, and Santiago Giraldo, 6-4 6-4 against Bradley Klahn of the United States.
On Wednesday, French second seed Jeremy Chardy is in second round action against Christian Garin of Chile and fourth seed Reilly Opelka faces Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Australia’s Bernard Tomic goes head-to-head with Spanish veteran Marcel Granollers, while Laaksonen will aim to continue upsetting the form book against another American, Ryan Harrison.