Frances Tiafoe didn’t disappoint the home crowd with a straight sets 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Frenchman Benoit Paire at Indian Wells.
Tiafoe gave Paire little room to play in tactical game that saw the 23-year-old emerge victorious.
“I definitely took a long time off after the Open, the longest time I’ve taken in the middle of the season in a while, so [I was] a little rusty in the beginning and in the days leading up I wasn’t feeling great,” Tiafoe said.
“Happy to just get a first round under my belt. Obviously tonight was up and down, Benoit wasn’t having the best of days, but you take that.”
The 23-year-old broke serve four times and won 46 per cent of return points against Paire, who never found his rhythm.
Tiafoe will meet fellow American No. 32 seed Sebastian Korda in the next round.
Japan’s Key Nishikori came from behind to see off Joao Sousa 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Injury-prone Nishikori hit five aces as the Portuguese No. 182 committed three double faults after a first set success.
“[It was] very tough,” Nishikori said after the match.
“He took the first set and I was a break down in the second set, so I tried to be a little bit more aggressive. He was very steady.”
The 31-year-old will next play Brit Daniel Evans.