Steve Johnson carried his early-season ATP Challenger Tour success to the New York Open on Monday. The 30-year-old American earned his first tour-level win of the season, upsetting fifth-seeded countryman Tennys Sandgren 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(3) at the ATP 250.

Johnson scraped past the Australian Open quarter-finalist (l. to Federer), saving three break points at 3-4 in the deciding set and twice holding as he served to stay in the match at 4-5 and 5-6.

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The right-hander played his best in the deciding-set tie-break, belting a backhand winner to give himself four match points at 6/2. Johnson improved to 2-0 against Sandgren in their ATP Head2Head series (2018 Houston final). He will next meet Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who edged Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(6).

“I just thought I played a couple good points, down break point at 4-3, and then started off the tie-break with a great return. A couple free points are always key in a tie-break,” Johnson said. “Wins are wins, you take them when you get them and hopefully you string a bunch in a row. That’s my goal.”

Johnson won the Bendigo Challenger last month and fell in the semi-finals of the Newport Beach Challenger on 2 February.

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Sixth seed Miomir Kecmanovic beat American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-2 and will next face a qualifier, either 38-year-old Italian Paolo Lorenzi or Serbian Danilo Petrovic. Kecmanovic is looking to reach his second ATP Tour semi-final of the season after advancing to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open semi-finals in Doha during week one.

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist converted four break points from 11 chances to win his first ATP Head2Head matchup with Paul, who reached the third round of the Australian Open (l. to Fucsovics).

In the final match of the day, American Marcos Giron beat former World No. 8 Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4. Sock was competing in his first tour-level match since September at the Laver Cup in Geneva.

Giron, meanwhile, made his Australian Open debut last month. He will next meet fourth seed Ugo Humbert of France.



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