Aljaz Bedene upsets top-seed Gilles Simon in second round of Winston-Salem Open
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Top seed Gilles Simon of France was upset by Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene, while South Africa's Kevin Anderson survived an upset bid during Tuesday's second-round matches at the Winston-Salem Open.
Bedene, ranked 58th in the world, battled through tiebreakers in all three sets and match point in the third set against the 11th-ranked Simon to win 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6).
"I haven't beaten (someone) in the top 10 yet, so this is my best win," the 26-year-old Bedene said. "It was tough. Gilles is known as one of the toughest guys on the tour. Coming back after losing the first set, and having served for it, is never easy. But I'm playing well. I can't wait for my next match."
Meanwhile, 15th-ranked Anderson, the No. 2 seed, beat Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at the Wake Forest Tennis Center in the final tuneup for next week's U.S. Open.
"It was an interesting match," Anderson said. "It was really strange in the beginning, because I was facing break points in every game. I just tried to calm down as much as possible."
It was Bedene's fourth career win over a Top 20 opponent since turning pro in 2008, and his third this season. Before Tuesday, Bedene's previous career best came against then-No. 14 Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the Round of 16 in Chennai, India, in January.
It also came in just the third ATP World Tour match this season to have tiebreakers in all three sets — two of those coming at the Winston-Salem Open. Earlier in the day, Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili beat Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3).
"(Simon) was returning well, and I was returning well," Bedene said. "We did not have so much advantage with our serve. Sometimes there were games (40)-zero, sometimes there were long ones.
"It was a close match — three tiebreaks. I don't think I've ever played on the ATP Tour three tiebreaks."
Simon was one of three seeded players to fall during Tuesday's second round. Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu upset fifth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-3; South Korea's Hyeon Chung beat No. 9 seed Benoit Paire of France 6-1, 6-4; and Argentina's Diego Schwartzman downed 12th-seeded Pablo Andujar of Spain 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.
While the 6-foot-8 Anderson served 19 aces against Kukushkin, he also lost a break point in dropping the first set. But he settled down over the next two sets, breaking Kukushkin's serve three times.
"He's a very tricky player, the way he hits the ball," Anderson said of Kukushkin. "It's really flat, especially the backhand, and it puts me down low. I was also not timing my serve exactly as I wanted to. I started hitting my serve at about 80 percent, and that worked for me. I was able to comfortably hold my serve the rest of the match."
Also winning Tuesday were American Steve Johnson, 2014 finalist Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic and Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci.
Johnson, one of two Americans left at Winston-Salem, beat Australia's Sam Groth 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1.
Janowicz needed just less than 71 minutes to defeat defending champion Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2. Last year, Rosol rallied past Janowicz 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
Vesely beat Slovakia's Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-4; and Bellucci downed American qualifier Francis Tiafoe 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2).
Among those playing in the evening matches are Sam Querrey, the highest-ranked (No. 38) American in the tournament, and 19th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.