Defending champion Johnson stunned in Newport opener
Defending champion Steve Johnson made an early exit at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
Steve Johnson’s title defence at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships came to an end in a surprise first-round loss on Tuesday.
Johnson, the fifth seed at the ATP 250 event, went down to wildcard Christopher Eubanks 7-6 (11-9) 7-6 (7-5) on the grass at Newport.
Eubanks, the 23-year-old ranked 188th in the world, sent down 15 aces in a shock victory over his fellow American.
Defending champion Johnson was one of two seeds to fall, with Bradley Klahn also departing, suffering a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) loss to Denis Kudla.
— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) July 16, 2019
Alexander Bublik almost joined them in exiting, but the seventh seed edged past qualifier Alex Bolt 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-4).
Runners-up from the past two years, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Matthew Ebden moved through.
Last year’s finalist and a qualifier in 2019, Ramanathan overcame Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-2, while 2017 runner-up Ebden claimed a 6-1 2-6 6-3 victory over Brayden Schnur.
Viktor Troicki served 10 double faults but still got past Jason Jung 3-6 7-5 7-5, while Mischa Zverev was too good for Tim Smyczek 6-3 7-6 (7-4).