Sam Querrey beats Pere Riba in first round of Winston-Salem Open
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Sam Querrey didn't play his best tennis Monday - except when it counted.
Querrey got two key services breaks to beat Spain's Pere Riba 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open, the final tuneup before next week's U.S. Open.
''My year's been pretty average - a lot of two steps forward, one step back,'' Querrey said. ''I had that same problem last year, but I was able to get it going in this tournament. I've played well here in the past, so I'm going to do my best to keep it up.''
The 26-year-old American, who had advanced to the semifinals at Winston-Salem the last two years, got a mini-break to win the first-set tiebreaker. Querrey, ranked 56th, then closed out the match with another service break to advance.
''I didn't think I played great,'' said Querrey, who was ranked as high as 17th in the world in 2011. ''I served pretty well, and hit the big forehand. I did the right things on the big points, but I still need to clean everything up a little bit.''
Querrey will next face childhood friend Steve Johnson, both California natives, in a second-round match Tuesday at the Wake Forest Tennis Center.