Multiple “Longest” Tournament Records Broken on Tuesday

Tournament history was broken twice on Stadium Court in two different matches with both the longest tie-breaker played (by score) and the longest first round match played. 

Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan and Frenchman Benoit Paire played the longest tie-break in the U.S. Clay history, where Galan outlasted Paire 15-13 in the first set on his 10th set point. Galan was also part of the longest tie-breaker in 2023, falling 17-15 in a 25-minute tie-breaker to Alexander Bublik in Madrid.

“I was just telling myself to keep going,” said Galan in his post-match interview with host Blair Henley. “It was a crazy first set because of all the opportunities I had but couldn’t take, but it’s always good to gain some confidence early in a tournament when you can fight through adversity like I did today.” 

Galan sets up a second round South-American clash against No. 4 Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina. Both players are clay court specialists, so fans should expect a gritty matchup ahead on the red dirt at River Oaks. 

The other record was broken in the last Stadium Court match of the day session. American Aleksandar Kovacevic outlasted Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in three hours and 16 minutes 7-6(3), 6-7(2), 6-4, the longest first round match recorded in tournament history and tied for second-longest recorded match overall. 

Surging Giron Sets Up “Quad-Father” Clash with Wolf

On Tuesday night, No. 5 seed Marcos Giron dispatched former Top 10 player Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the second round and set up a highly anticipated matchup with his fellow “Quad-Father”, JJ Wolf

Thirty-year-old Giron is in the midst of a career-best season with a finals appearance in Dallas and semifinal run in Delray Beach earlier this year. At No. 51 in this week’s ATP rankings, Giron is the higher ranked of the two Americans and leads Wolf 1-0 in their career head-to-head. 

Giron and Wolf are scheduled for the second match during Wednesday’s evening session on Stadium Court. 

Australians Continue Winning Form

Although not a country known for its clay court pedigree, a trio of Australians looked quite comfortable on the red dirt at River Oaks on Tuesday. 

Leading the Australian pack is 29-year-old Jordan Thompson, No. 6 seed at River Oaks, who defeated young Chinese talent Wu Yibing 6-4, 6-4 late Tuesday evening.

In yet another marathon match on Tuesday, No. 8 seed Max Purcell, a two-time defending doubles champion at River Oaks, defeated 19-year-old American Alex Michelsen in two hours and 48 minutes, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4. A player known for his strong serve, Purcell fought through a difficult service day (43% first serve percentage) to get the win on the eve of his 26th birthday. 

“I don’t even know how I got it done with the way I served today,” Purcell told Henley in the post-match interview. “It’s my birthday today [in Australia], so I am looking forward to recovering with some birthday cake and an ice bath later. Credit to Alex for a great fight today - he’s a talented competitor with a very bright future ahead.”

Australian James Duckworth was also victorious on Tuesday with a  routine 6-3, 6-3 in a straightforward victory over Houston-born Gijs Brouwer, who represents the Netherlands, on Court 7. 

Michael Mmoh Proves Wildcard-Worthy 

American Michael Mmoh, the 26-year-old who notably capped off John Isner’s 16-year career at the 2023 U.S. Open, defeated Juan Pablo Varillas of Peru 6-2, 7-6(4) on Court 3. In his post-match interview, Mmoh talked about his injury comeback journey after missing U.S. Clay last year due to a sports hernia. 

“Physically I feel 100% and probably the best I have throughout my entire career,” said Mmoh. “Getting through adversity today is always beneficial in the first round of a tournament - even if I could have won more routinely in the second set. I’m in great form right now and am ready for a long swing ahead this year.”

In his next match, Mmoh will take on No. 8 seed Purcell in the Round of 16, marking yet another highly anticipated American-Aussie battle.

In the first Court 3 match of the day, Italian Luciano Darderi outlasted American Denis Kudla in a come-from-behind win, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. Darderi is playing with full of clay court confidence, having recently won the ATP 250 in Cordoba winning seven consecutive matches as a qualifier.

Doubles Seeds Fall on Tuesday

Ben Shelton, the top seed in singles, kicked off his 2024 Houston campaign with a doubles victory alongside partner Andres Andrade of Ecuador. The former college teammates at University of Florida, who received a wildcard entry into the doubles draw, knocked off the No. 3 seeds Julian Cash and Robert Galloway 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-5 in front of a packed house on Court 3. 

Andrade and Shelton advance to the doubles quarterfinals where they will face a dangerous unseeded team of talented doubles players in American Will Blumberg and Australian John Peers. Blumberg is a 3-time ATP doubles champion and Peers is the 2013 US Clay  doubles champion who holds the most ATP clay court doubles titles among the field at River Oaks.

In Tuesday’s other doubles match, Australians Andrew Harris and Rinky Hijikata knocked off the Texas-based team, No. 2 Nate Lammons and Jackson Withrow, 6-4, 6-4. Although an upset on paper, Hijikata is no stranger to the doubles court with a grand slam title under his belt at the 2023 Australian Open.


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