Jan-Michael Gambill’s introduction to the U.S. Open ended with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (13-11) first-round defeat to Scott Draper on Monday.
“My return really let me down today,” said Gambill, who earlier this year had defeated Draper 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Draper, an unseeded lefty from Brisbane, Australia, is ranked 66th in the ATP Tour rankings. Gambill, a 1995 Mead High School graduate, is No. 218 in the world.
“I was going for big returns and missing quite a few,” said Gambill, who received a wild-card invitation to his first Grand Slam event.
“It would work for a little while,” Gambill said of making some big returns, “but I would miss a few and he’d serve well.”
It was 4-4 in the first set and Gambill said “I was playing pretty well until then … then I made some stupid errors.”
The second set saw both players breaking serve until Gambill said “I had another lapse and he broke me and that pretty much sealed it.”
There were no breaks in the third set and it went to the tiebreaker.
“It’s maybe the longest tiebreaker I’ve ever played,” he said of the 24-point marathon. “And it’s the first one I lost this year. I think I had won six in a row.
“If I had won that one, it may have changed things some. But I don’t know. He played well.
“But it was just good to get out there and play for my first year here,” he added. “I’ll be back for sure next year.”
Gambill said he’d return to the family’s Colbert home “and work on my return” before his next outing next month in Urbana, Ill.
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