Houston - Sixth-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain earned a 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over Steve Johnson of the United States in the first round of the US men's Clay Court Championships on Tuesday.
Fifth-seeded John Isner, the second-ranking US player, met Ryan Harrison in a later match.
Qualifier Robby Ginepri of the United States kept eighth-seeded Michael Russell of the United States off balance most of the match for a 6-2, 6-2 first-round victory.
Top-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain plays his first match Wednesday against Gael Monfils of France. Monfils, who missed most of last season with a knee strain, beat James Blake of the United States in the first round.
Verdasco won the tiebreaker when Johnson double-faulted at set point. Johnson held after four break points in the fourth game of the second set, but he was broken in the sixth and eighth games.
Ginepri broke Russell quickly in the first game of the match and again in the seventh game and wrapped up the first set in the eighth game aided by three Russell errors and he had an ace at the first set point.
Ginepri took control of the match in the opening game of the second set, breaking Russell at the fifth break point. Ginepri pounded in several down-the-line winners that left Russell flat-footed.
Results from the second day of the US Clay Court Championships on Tuesday:
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA x7) bt Gerald Melzer (AUT) 6-2, 6-2
Robby Ginepri (USA) bt Michael Russell (USA x8) 6-2, 6-2
Flavio Cipolla (ITA) bt Facundo Arguello (ARG) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Jack Sock (USA) bt Bradley Klahn (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) bt Jesse Levine (CAN) 6-7 (3/7), 7-5, 6-4
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x6) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
John Isner (USA x5) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4