LOS ANGELES – Tobias Kamke of Germany ousted James Blake of the United States 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (4) in the first round of the Farmers Classic at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Tuesday.
Blake lost the first four games of the match and was down 3-1 in the second set. He won five games and jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the final set, only to have Kamke rally.
Kamke, playing here for the first time, won four of the next five games to pull even at 5-all. He then won the final five points of the tiebreaker to hand the 32-year-old Blake his eighth loss in nine matches this year.
"I felt great the last two days of practice and I really don't know what happened. Blake said.
"I started slow. Even when I was winning, I felt like I was just scrapping out points and not dictating the way I wanted to. When I'm not doing that, I'm not playing my best and I'm not confident, and when you're not confident in a tiebreaker you're going to miss a couple of balls by centimeters or millimeters.
"I didn't make a lot of first serves in that tiebreaker and didn't give myself the chances I needed to. I can't do that and expect to win out here."
Blake joined a list of fellow Americans Jesse Levine, Nicolas Meister and Bradley Klahn who were eliminated.
Levine was beaten 6-3, 6-4, by countryman Michael Russell, who at 34 is the oldest player in the field. Meister, a recent UCLA graduate making his ATP Tour debut as a qualifier, fell to No. 5 seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-4, 6-1. And Klahn, also a qualifier, lost to Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
In the other first-round matches, No. 6 seed Marinko Matosevic of Australia eliminated qualifier Chris Guccione of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 6-3; Igor Andreev of Russia ousted Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (4), 6-4; and Matthew Ebden of Austria outlasted Michael Berrer of Germany 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
The first round concluded with Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands beating American Steve Johnson, a two-time NCAA champion for USC 7-6 (4), 6-3 and qualifier Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania upsetting No. 7 seed Bjorn Phau of Germany 7-6 (8), 6-4.