Kendrick beat the South African 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). The 6-foot-8 favorite fired 20 aces but lost, just two weeks after taking his first ATP Tour championship in Johannesburg.
Slovakia's Lukas Lacko outlasted Dudi Sela of Israel 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-3 in another first-round match.
The top seeds at Memphis are U.S. star Andy Roddick and Fernando Verdasco of Spain, who is coming off last week's finals appearance in San Jose, where he was stunned by Canadian Milos Raonic.
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