By International Tennis Hall Of Fame/Hall Of Fame Open

Wild card Christopher Eubanks knocked off the defending champion on Tuesday, defeating No. 5 seed Steve Johnson 7-6 (9), 7-6 (5) in the first round. The victory was Eubanks’ second on the ATP Tour this season and came against one of his mentors.

“Stevie helped me out a lot, especially when I was making the decision to leave school early,” said Eubanks, a former Georgia Tech standout. “He’s someone that I went to and talked to a little bit and got his opinion. He gave me some pretty good advice and he’s definitely one of the American guys I look up to.”

Eubanks, who served 15 aces, said he wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of facing Johnson in the first round.

“I saw the draw when I got the email, I think I was still in Winnetka, and I was like, ‘Defending champion? That’s tough,’” Eubanks said. “But I was excited for the opportunity. I felt like it would be a pretty good crowd out, definitely on stadium court, so those things I felt would make for a fun atmosphere.”

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