INDIAN WELLS, California – Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos needed nearly three hours to overcome the resistance of Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, eventually pulling out a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory Thursday afternoon at the BNP Paribas Open.
Sugita managed to win the first set despite putting only 40 percent of his first serves in play and being broken on two occasions.
He then paid the price for a below-60-percent first-serve percentage in the second set, losing his serve two more times as the Argentine forced a decider.
The players broke each other’s serve once apiece in the third set, which Zeballos finally wrapped up in a tiebreaker after two hours and 50 minutes of play.
Next up for the Argentine in the second round will be 11th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreño-Busta.
The Indian Wells tournament is one of the biggest hard-court events on the men’s and women’s tennis calendars.