Johnson Defeats Wawrinka In Rome
Steve Johnson recorded his sixth win in seven matches on clay this season, defeating 2008 finalist Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The Houston champion (d. Sandgren) took 81 minutes to overcome Wawrinka, winning 76 per cent of first-service points and converting both of his break-point chances to advance to the second round. Wawrinka was appearing on the ATP World Tour for the first time since retiring from his second-round match against Ilya Ivashka at the Open 13 Provence in February.
"If I really look at where I am right now, I'm really happy," said Wawrinka. "I think, in general, my level is really high, it is better than what I expected.
"[I started playing] tennis only twelve days ago. So I'm happy. I'm happy with the level I have in practice. I'm happy, physically, where I am right now. I feel quite good, I have to say, on the court."
Johnson will meet countryman Jared Donaldson or 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta for a spot in the third round.
Jack Sock also defeated a former finalist at the Foro Italico, beating 2010 runner-up David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4. The Rolex Paris Masters champion saved four of five break points he faced and took three of his four break opportunities to defeat the former World No. 3 in 77 minutes.
Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk upset 12th seed Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-6(7). The Delray Beach Open finalist (l. to Tiafoe) raced out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set and saved set point in the second-set tie-break at 6/7 before converting his second match point to advance. Gojowczyk will face Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in the second round. The 23-year-old wildcard came from a set down to beat World No. 27 Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Ryan Harrison did make it three American wins out of four in the Italian capital however, beating Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 7-6(5), 6-3 in just under two hours. Harrison hit 11 aces and saved all five break points Sugita manufactured to book a meeting with fourth seed Marin Cilic.
Did You Know?
Between 2005 and 2015, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic dominated the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, winning each of the 11 editions. Nadal won the title on seven occasions, with Djokovic lifting the four remaining crowns.