RIO DE JANEIRO — Thomaz Bellucci upset top-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the Rio Open, thrilling the home crowd on Carnival week in Rio de Janeiro.
Nishikori, who lost the Argentina Open final on Sunday on clay, smashed his racket on the red clay after losing Tuesday’s first set. It didn’t get any better. He was broken in the first game of the second and never really recovered.
Brazilian Belluci had lost his previous two matches against Nishikori, who has lost all six of his singles finals since winning the Memphis Open a year ago.
In another first-round match, No. 4-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain defeated Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-3, 6-2.
No. 2 Dominic Thiem of Austria played late against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.
The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.
“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”
Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.
“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.
“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”
NEWPORT, R.I. — Andy Roddick says jokingly he can now keep Roger Federer from a unanimous selection for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
As a new inductee, Roddick gets to vote on future candidates. He jested ahead of his enshrinement on Saturday that he’ll use it to get back at Federer, who stood in his way during at least four Grand Slam finals.
Roddick joins inductees Kim Clijsters, six-time Paralympic medalist Monique Kalkman and journalist and historian Steve Flink. Tennis instructor and innovator Vic Braden was to be inducted posthumously.
Roddick won one Grand Slam and lost to Federer in the finals four times. He says he doesn’t ask himself what would have happened if he hadn’t come along at the same time of perhaps the greatest player.
He says the first text he got when he woke up Saturday was from Federer. Says Roddick: “He makes it extremely hard not to like him as a person.”