“It was difficult,” said Russell in a post match interview. “I kinda woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning…cranky the whole day. Alex was serving really well. Every serve seemed to be an ace or something.”
Russell used the momentum of a few free points to help win the second set.
“I kept fighting and I got a couple of free points when it was 4-3.”
Next up, Russell faces fifth seed player Kevin Anderson in his second round match. Russell lost to Anderson last year in Atlanta going down in two sets, but Russell boasts a 2012 Indian Wells win over Anderson.
In other Day 2 matches:
Eighth-seeded Go Soeda of Japan overcame a nearly three-hour rain delay to beat Belgium's Xavier Malisse 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the Atlanta Open on Tuesday.
Soeda will face Russia's Igor Kunitsyn in second round play.
Matthew Ebden of Australia held off qualifier Sergei Bubka of Ukraine 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, and will next meet either Ryan Harrison or Jame Blake.