MIAMI (AFP) - Young American Ernesto Escobedo pulled off a surprise victory in three sets over Britain's Dan Evans in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday (March 22).
The 20-year-old Mexican-American, who grew up playing on rough public courts in Los Angeles, is playing in his Masters 1000 series event having qualified with a straight sets win over Argentine Renzo Olivo on Tuesday.
Escobedo, ranked 108th, beat the 43rd ranked Evans 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 at Crandon Park thanks mainly to his strong first serve, which included ten aces.
"This day is very special for me. I qualified for my first Masters 1000 here in Miami and I played a tricky opponent who serves pretty well. It is pretty big to get my first win here," Escobedo told reporters.
"I started pretty slow but once I broke back I felt pretty comfortable and kept patient. In the second set I just didn't focus at all and my energy was very low but I am just happy to have stepped it up in the third set," he added.
Escobedo will now face 25th-seed Fernando Verdasco in the second round and he can expect plenty of support from a strongly Hispanic South Florida crowd.
For Evans it was another setback after he went out in the second round in Indian Wells.
"He played pretty well. I needed to get on top early in the third set and I think he would have gone away but I didn't," said Evans.
"I have been serving poorly for a little bit and I wasn't winning my points on my second serve," said the Englishman, who was given a penalty point for bad language and racket abuse and also had a verbal exchange with a fan at one stage.
Another American hopeful, Ryan Harrison, bowed out with a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Italy's 40th ranked Fabio Fognini while his compatriot Michael Mmoh was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by France's Nicolas Mahut.
Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka triumped in a two-hour battle with Australia's Jordan Thompson.
Nishioka, who reached the fourth round at Indian Wells last week, saved 11 of 14 break points to secure the 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.
France's Benoit Paire beat Slovak Martin Klizan 7-6(4), 6-3 to earn a second-round challenge with 21st seed Pablo Cuevas.