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Former Champ Granollers Upsets Fritz In Houston

Spaniard Marcel Granollers went a decade without competing in Houston. But you wouldn’t know it by how at home he looked on Monday evening. The 2008 champion upset fifth seed Taylor Fritz 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.

“[It feels] very good. To come back here to Houston, of course for me it’s a good tournament. I have great memories here. I won in 2008,” Granollers said on Tennis Channel. “I came back after 10 years so I’m very, very happy to play in front of the crowd and play on this centre court.”

Granollers arrived in Texas with just one tour-level win this year, but he put on an entertaining all-court display, including a lot of drop shots, to oust the 2018 semi-finalist after one hour and 53 minutes. The 32-year-old, currently 112th in the ATP Rankings, is now 7-1 at this ATP 250 tournament.

“Taylor is a player who can hit very hard. He hits very hard from the baseline and I needed to change rhythm,” Granollers said. “If I hit good drop shots, I think it’s a good option against him and I think today it worked.”

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The Spaniard will next face Aussie Bernard Tomic, who beat home favourite Denis Kudla 7-6(8), 7-5.

In other action, American Ryan Harrison dismissed 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-4 in just 58 minutes. Harrison is hoping to achieve a career-best showing in Houston, where he made the quarter-finals in 2012 (l. to Russell). He will next play sixth seed Mackenzie McDonald or Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.

#NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud battled past Bolivian Hugo Dellien 7-6(7), 6-4. Earlier this year, Ruud lost just one game against Dellien in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in Sao Paulo, but he had to battle much harder this time, advancing after one hour and 41 minutes. Ruud will try to upset New York Open champion Reilly Opelka next.

Chilean Christian Garin also moved forward on Monday, defeating Uruguayan veteran Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Garin will next face second seed Jeremy Chardy.

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