Lacko, Del Potro win at San Jose


SAN JOSE – Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko toppled third-seeded American Sam Querrey 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, one of three first-round upsets of seeded players in the ATP Tour SAP Open on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada ousted fourth-seeded Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-4, and Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis dispatched sixth-seeded Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).
Eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan bucked the trend, defeating Czech Jan Hajek 6-1, 7-6 (8/6). Querrey, 23, won four titles last year but has now lost all three of his matches in 2011. Since reaching the fourth round at last year’s US Open the 23-year-old is 1-8. Lacko, whose prior best victory came against world number 24 Ivan Ljubicic at Zagreb last year, next faces former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.
Del Potro is playing his first tournament in the United States since his 2009 US Open triumph. He endured a nightmare 2010, starting the year as number five in the world before wrist problems saw him have season-ending surgery in May. By the time he returned to competition at the Sydney International in January his ranking had slumped to 258th.
The defeats for Malisse and Becker left no seeded players in their quarter of the draw.That could open up an opportunity for James Blake, who is playing in his first tournament in four months after battling knee and shoulder injuries. Blake will take on Raonic in the second round on Wednesday. Raonic, a 20-year-old who rode his powerful serve to the round of 16 at the Australian Open as a qualifier, fired 20 aces against Malisse to set up his match with Blake.
“It was a good win,” said Raonic, who posted his fourth top-50 victory of the season. “He returns well. He has been playing well this year. I’ve been playing well also, so I focused on making sure I take care of my serve and stay on top of that… I was serving really well so it was putting a bit more pressure on his service game not to get down too early.”