Memphis: Canada's Milos Raonic beat No. 2 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Wednesday in the first round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, his second victory over the Spaniard in four days.
Raonic, aged 20 and the fastest rising young star on the ATP Tour, beat Verdasco on Sunday in the finals of the SAP Open in San Jose for his first career title.
He has risen from 159 in the world to start the year to 59 this week.
"I'm happy with the outcome, but I think there are things I can improve on the match that I'll take time to think about," Raonic said. "But I can't be unsatisfied with this result."
He said beating Verdasco on Sunday did provide a confidence boost.
A frustrated Verdasco lamented having to play the hard-serving Raonic twice in conditions that favour his game and not Verdasco's. The points were quickly played.
"For me that's not a real match in tennis," Verdasco said. "I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not only serve."
In other first-round action, former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, a quarterfinalist last week in San Jose, beat No. 7 seed Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 6-4, 7-6(3) .
Hewitt, who is ranked 70th and unseeded in the tournament, wasn't pleased with how the second set unfolded.
"It's always frustrating to be up a set and a break and (not) close it out," Hewitt said.
"I felt like I came out and I was ready to go right from the start, which was a key out there because Lu is a good ball-striker. He hits a lot of winners out there and it's hard to be real aggressive against him."
In the second round, No. 4 Mardy Fish of the United States defeated Slovakia's Lukas Lacko, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3) and Robert Kendrick beat fellow-American James Blake 7-6 (5), 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP event for the first time since July 2006.
Frenchman Florent Serra knocked out No. 9 Xavier Malisse of Belgium, who had to retire in the second set trailing 6-2, 1-0.
In the women's event, No. 3 Melanie Oudin of the United States was eliminated by Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, 6-1, 7-5. Oudin's loss left sixth-seeded Rebecca Marino of Canada as the lone remaining seed in the tournament.