American Steve Johnson recorded his first ATP Tour level victory of 2020 on Monday night, downing compatriot Tennys Sandgren 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(3) in the opening round of the New York Open.
A win’s a win and you take them when you get them and hopefully you string a bunch in a row,” said Johnson. “So that’s my goal. You know, I hadn’t got a win here in New York the last two years, so I’m happy to get on the board here now.”
After dropping the opening set in a tiebreaker, Johnson battled back to win the second set and saved multiple break points at 3-4 in the final set. Once in the deciding tiebreaker, Johnson raced ahead to a 5-2 lead before firing a blistering backhand down the line to go ahead 6-2.
Two points later, Johnson closed out the match and booked his spot in second round on Long Island.
“I didn’t think I served great the entire match to be honest, but Tennys is a great returner,” Johnson added. “I thought I did well in the big moments when it was necessary and that’s the most important part.”
He will meet Italian Andreas Seppi for a spot in the quarterfinals after Seppi hung on to beat Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(6) earlier in the day.
“Andreas is a great player, I’ve played him a bunch, awesome guy, love to have him around the tour” said Johnson. “It’s going to be a fun one and hopefully I can get another win.”
Sixth-seed Mimoir Kecmanovic defeated American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-2 earlier in the day, and will meet the winner of Italian qualifier Paolo Lorenzi and Serbian qualifier Danilo Petrovic.
“I just wanted to be solid from the back, you know, make him play a lot, not maybe rushed too much because the courts are very slow,” said Kecmanovic. “So I just tried to play smart, you know, build the point up and it paid off”
In the day’s final match, Marcos Giron ousted Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4, and will play fourth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert next.