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Hijikata defeats Eubanks in first round of U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships

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HOUSTON (AP) — Rinky Hijikata won his first clay-court match at an ATP Tour event on Monday by beating fifth-seeded Christopher Eubanks in the first round of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.

Hijikata, an Australian who is 80th in the ATP rankings, won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2).

“Just managed to get through there. It wasn’t looking good for a while,” Hijikata said. “I think Chris didn’t miss a first serve for a long, long time and I wasn’t touching too many serves or making any. I’m just glad that I kind of just hung around long enough and managed to come up with a few good points when I had to.”

Hijikata won 79% of his first-serve points.

“(I am) pretty resilient,” said Hijikata, who played college tennis at North Carolina. “There are a lot of things that can go wrong in clay-court tennis, especially when I feel like both of us haven’t played too much on it. So I’m just trying to learn as much as I can, try and adapt, and then you learn how to try playing on this as well as I can. I’m just looking forward to the next one.”

Hijikata will next face American player Brandon Nakashima, the 2022 ATP Next Gen Finals champion. Nakashima didn’t lose a service game in a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Dude Ajdukovic of Croatia.

Also Monday, Zizou Bergs of Belgium defeated Patrick Kypson of the United States 7-6 (5), 6-3.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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