Verdasco advances at US men’s clay court championships

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HOUSTON — Former champion Fernando Verdasco of Spain became the last player to advance to the second round of the U.S. men’s clay court championships Tuesday night with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq.

Verdasco, who won North America’s only men’s clay-court tournament in 2014, came back from a break down in the second set to close out the match by winning the last five games. He’s one of seven players among the final 16 who are at least 30 years old.

But the last of the eight second-round matchups Wednesday will have the 18-year-old American Tommy Paul against 19-year-old Hyeon Chung of South Korea.

Paul, the French Open junior champion in 2015, ousted Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-3 Tuesday for his first ATP World Tour singles victory. He’s one of seven Americans still in the singles draw, joining defending champion Jack Sock, 2014 champion John Isner, twice-runner-up Sam Querrey, Donald Young, Tim Smyczek and Denis Kudla.

The top-seeded Isner, who had a first-round bye, faces Kudla on Wednesday.

Querrey moved on by defeating the huge-serving 6-10 American teenager Reilly Opelka 6-4, 7-6 (4), Young beat countryman Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3 and Smyczek rallied to eliminate Nicolas Kicker of Argentina 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus routed Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-0 in the first ATP World Tour match this year in which the losing player failed to win a game.

Other players advancing were Benjamin Becker of Germany, who beat countryman Michael Berrer 7-6 (6), 6-0, and Australia’s Matthew Barton, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe, whose family came to the U.S. from Sierra Leone.