SAN JOSE, Calif. – Lukas Lacko earned his first win in 12 tries against a player ranked in the top 20, knocking off third-seeded Sam Querrey 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the first round of the SAP Open on Tuesday night.
The loss by the 17th-ranked Querrey was one of three by seeded players in the first round on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, big-serving Milos Raonic upset fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-4, and sixth-seeded Benjamin Becker lost to Richard Berankis 6-3, 7-6 (2).
This is the third straight loss to open the year for Querrey, who lost his first match of the year in Sydney to Alexandr Dolgopolov and fell in the first round of the Australian Open to Lukasz Kubot.
Querrey quickly left the court as soon as the match ended and went right out of the arena without changing, refusing to do a postmatch interview despite a request from the tournament organizers.
This marked the second straight year Querrey has lost his first three matches. He ended that drought last year by making a run to the semifinals in San Jose before losing a third-set tiebreaker to Andy Roddick and winning the following week in Memphis for his first of four tournament wins.
He was unable to make a similar run in San Jose this year as he struggled all match with his groundstrokes and was unable to win it with his powerful serve.
That serve kept Querrey in the match early, as he went 11 straight points on his serve with Lacko unable to get a single return in play. But Lacko was able to take the opening set to a tiebreaker and got an early advantage on a double fault by Querrey. Lacko squandered two set points before earning a third with a forehand winner down the line. He won the set when Querrey hit a forehand into the net.
Querrey lost his first service game of the second set before breaking right back. Lacko then broke serve again to take a 4-2 lead and held his final two games to win his first match in San Jose.
The losses by Malisse and Becker left no seeded players remaining in that quarter of the draw. That could open up a chance for James Blake, who is playing in his first tournament in four months after being hampered by knee and shoulder injuries. Blake will take on Raonic in the second round Wednesday, while Donald Young faces Richard Berankis.
The 20-year-old Raonic used his serve to make it all the way to the round of 16 at the Australian Open as a qualifier before losing to David Ferrer. He served 20 aces in his first match in San Jose to set up his showdown with Blake.
In other first-round matches, eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori beat Jan Hajek 6-1, 7-6 (6), and Brian Dabul beat Alejandro Falla 6-4, 6-3. Juan Martin Del Potro played the late match against Teymuraz Gabashvili in his first tournament in the United States since beating Roger Federer to win the 2009 U.S. Open.