2/19/13 2:55 AM | Ricky Dimon
Rhyne Williams stays hot with a straight-set victory over Steve Johnson on Monday in Memphis. Williams is joined in the second round by Lukasz Kubot, who beat Ryan Harrison in a third-set tiebreaker.
(Q) Rhyne williams d. (WC) Steve Johnson 7-6(4), 6-4
williams earned his eighth consecutive match win when he defeated his former NCAA rival in one hour and 30 minutes during first-round action at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Monday. The world No. 159 held all 11 of his service games and won 34 of 38 first serve points to snag his first career ATP-level victory. williams' streak began with a Challenger title in Dallas earlier this month and he also won two matches in Memphis qualifying over the weekend.
Johnson, ranked slightly ahead at 136th, won a mere three return points in the entire opening set but he managed to force a tiebreaker by saving two break points along the way. The two-time NCAA singles champion led 4-2 on a williams' double-fault, but he lost the last five points of the 'breaker. Not until the final game of the match did a break of serve come. williams seized it at 5-4 in the second to book a round-two clash against either Alexandr Dolgopolov or Bjorn Phau.
Lukasz Kubot d. Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(2)
A back-and-forth thriller saw Harrison storm back from a set and a break down before Kubot recovered from a break down in the third set. Kubot, who struck 11 aces to his opponent's seven, finally prevailed after two hours and 37 minutes. The veteran Pole got off to a fast start by breaking early in the opening set and he maintained his lead the whole way. Harrison finally snagged momentum with a break midway through the second and it carried him into a decider.
The 20-year-old American seemed to have the edge until he cracked on serve up 4-3. From there, both players held en route to a decisive tiebreaker. Kubot sprinted to an enormous lead right away and it was never competitive. Both players turned in a disappointing seven double-faults and Harrison was further doomed by winning a mere 47 percent of his second-serve points. Next up for Kubot is either qualifier Alex Bogomolov or lucky loser Michael Russell.
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