San Jose, California: Robby Ginepri earned just his third ATP Tour match win since 2010 when he easily beat Xavier Malisse 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday in the opening round of the SAP Open.
Ginepri, still battling back from a serious mountain bike crash, had no trouble at all while dispatching the Belgian in just 56 minutes.
His victory provided some relief for home fans, with Americans scoring two wins against four losses for the day.
Bulgarian qualifier Dimitar Kutrovsky beat Dennis Lajola 6-7 (7), 6-3, 7-6 (3), Luxembourg's Gilles Muller was a 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Tim Smyczek, Steve Darcis of Belgium defeated Scott Johnson 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) while the all-American clash saw Denis Kudla beat Jack Sock 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3.
Ginepri was once a rising star in American tennis, winning three titles and making it to No. 15 in the rankings in 2005 when he reached the U.S. Open semifinals. But he has fallen on hard times in recent years after breaking his left elbow when he swerved to avoid a squirrel in September 2010, and dropped to 235th in the world.
He played just six matches all last season and lost in qualifying for the Australian Open last month. He played two Challenger tournaments after that, reaching the final in Honolulu.
Malisse, a semifinalist in San Jose in 2001, is ranked 74th in the world and had lost his previous three matches this year, including at the first round of the Australian Open when he retired after losing the first set against Edouard Roger-Vasselin because of a right arm injury.
Malisse looked out of sorts from the start Tuesday as he double faulted to get broken in the opening game of the match and then complained about the ball boys. He hit an overhead into the net to get broken again in the fourth game and double faulted on set point.
Ginepri won 15 of the final 16 points, starting with an ace at break point when it was 2-2 in the second set. He sealed it when Malisse hit a forehand into the net on match point.
Ginepri will play either eighth-seeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium or compatriot Ryan Harrison in the second round.
Sock, who teamed with John McEnroe to win a doubles exhibition on Monday, had a short stay in the singles draw. He had his serve broken by Kudla in the opening game of the match for the only break in the first set. Neither player lost serve in the second set before Sock rallied from 5-2 down in the tiebreaker to force a third set.
Sock got up an early break in the third set before losing four straight games, committing two double faults in the crucial sixth game that included seven deuces. Sock lost that game with a double fault to fall behind 4-2 and failed to convert a break opportunity in the seventh game.
Kudla will take on second-seeded Andy Roddick in round two, while Kutrovsky will meet top-seeded Gael Monfils.
Muller's second-round opponent will be either fifth-seeded Julien Benneteau or American Ryan Sweeting, while Darcis progressed to a match against fourth-seeded Radek Stepanek.