MEMPHIS - Belgian Xavier Malisse knocked off second-seed and defending champion Andy Roddick 7-6 (10-8), 7-5 in first-round action at the $1.155 million Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Wednesday.
Roddick started strong by winning the first two games of the second set, but his lead was quickly erased as Malisse got back on serve, and then broke Roddick in the final game to secure the win. It was Roddick's earliest exit at this tournament in 12 appearances on the indoor hardcourts at The Racquet Club of Memphis.
Third seed Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who was the runner-up at this event in 2009, polished off American Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-2, while fourth- seeded Canadian Milos Raonic followed up his win in San Jose by topping Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in one hour and 29 minutes.
Raonic lost to Roddick in last year's final to give Roddick his third consecutive title at this event.
Diminutive Belgian Olivier Rochus upended fifth-seeded Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), while seventh-seeded South African slugger Kevin Anderson drove out oft-injured American Robby Ginepri 7-5, 6-3.
German Philipp Petzschner knocked off sixth-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6).
Additional opening-round wins came for Austrian Jurgen Melzer, Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Germany's Benjamin Becker. Melzer defeated Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Istomin was last week's San Jose runner-up to Raonic. Kubot topped American Jesse Levine 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, while Becker finished off Dudi Sela in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.
The 2012 Memphis champ will pocket $277,915.