LOS ANGELES -- James Blake, still sharpening his game after missing over two months with a right knee injury, rolled to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Leonardo Mayer of Argentina on Tuesday night in a first-round match at the Farmers Classic.
Blake, once No. 4 in the world and now No. 117 after a string of injuries, has reached two quarterfinals and has just a 9-10 match record this season, so he's trying to take a low-key approach to the game for the time being.
"I'm really happy with the way I played," he said before getting ready to team with Sam Querrey in a night doubles match. I went into the match with the goal of just controlling my side of the court and playing with the right kind of energy. I'm back to feeling healthy and I want to just play that way without the huge expectations or anything, just playing my game. I did it and it worked out well today."
In other matches, Colombia's Alejandro Falla beat Karol Beck of Slovakia 7-6 (3), 6-4, and Benjamin Becker of Germany needed four match points to turn back lucky loser Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador 7-5, 7-6 (6). Lapentti made the draw when American Mardy Fish withdrew because of fatigue.
Robby Ginepri beat Ilija Bozoljack of Serbia, 6-3, 6-4; and Ryan Sweeting outlasted Kristof Vliegen of Belgium, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. In the other day match, Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine, 6-3, 6-2.
Somdev Devvarman of India knocked off Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4. Johnson, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Southern California, was making his singles debut on the ATP Tour after qualifying for a spot in the 28-player field.
It obviously wasn't the result Johnson and a group of vocal fans were hoping for, but he said the tournament had been "a great experience. I'll take a lot from it and move forward. I found out I can hang in against these guys."