Hall of Fame Open: Defending champion Johnson stunned; Ramkumar through

Defending champion Steve Johnson made an early exit at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

American Steve Johnson   -  Getty Images

Steve Johnson's title defence at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships came to an end in a surprise first-round loss on Tuesday.

Johnson, the fifth seed at the ATP 250 event, went down to wildcard Christopher Eubanks 7-6 (11-9), 7-6 (7-5) on the grass at Newport.

Eubanks, the 23-year-old ranked 188th in the world, sent down 15 aces in a shock victory over his fellow American.

Defending champion Johnson was one of two seeds to fall, with Bradley Klahn also departing, suffering a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) loss to Denis Kudla. Alexander Bublik almost joined them in exiting, but the seventh seed edged past qualifier Alex Bolt 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4).

Runners-up from the past two years, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Matthew Ebden moved through.

Last year's finalist and a qualifier in 2019, Ramanathan overcame Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, while 2017 runner-up Ebden claimed a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Brayden Schnur.

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Viktor Troicki served 10 double faults but still got past Jason Jung 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, while Mischa Zverev was too good for Tim Smyczek 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).