Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt coasted into the second round of the ATP Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
Hewitt thrashed Canada's Vasek Pospisil 6-1 6-1, but the news was not so good for other Australians in first-round action.
Third-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada rallied past Matthew Ebden 3-6 6-3 7-5, while Jesse Levine accounted for Marinko Matosevic 6-2 7-6 (8-6).
Two-time major winner Hewitt will play American qualifier Tim Smyczek in the next round after needing just 49 minutes to dispatch Pospisil.
American Sam Querrey, continuing his comeback from elbow surgery last year, ousted fifth-seeded Alex Bogomolov of Russia 7-5 7-6 (7-5), American Tim Smyczek beat fourth seed Denis Istomin 6-3 6-3, and 2009 Newport champion Rajeev Ram defeated Grega Zemlja 6-3, 6-1.
Izak Van Der Merwe outlasted No.8 seed Gilles Muller 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4, and top seed and defending champion John Isner beat qualifier Sergei Bubka of the Ukraine 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3 in his opening round.
Isner, ranked 11th in the world entering the week, is slated to face Nicolas Mahut in the next round. The pair met in the longest match in tennis history - an 11-hour epic before Isner's 70-68 fifth-set victory in 2010 at Wimbledon.
"We can't avoid each other on grass," Isner joked about his pairing against Mahut.
"I should have won my first-round match at Wimbledon (last month) and we would have faced each other."
But Isner knows he has to play better to advance. He felt like he was having trouble with Newport's grass surface most of the match against Bubka.
"I didn't quite have my feet under me," he said. "I wasn't used to the court. That's something that comes with playing matches."
In the third game of the final set, Isner struggled to hold serve. When the game was over, the crowd became noticeably louder, trying to help him pick up momentum.
After Bubka double-faulted in the eighth game, Isner closed it with a backhand winner, going up 5-3 in the set. He closed out the match with a service winner.
Second-seeded Kei Nishikori also advanced with a 6-4 6-4 win over Igor Sijsling from the Netherlands.
In the first match of the day on centre court, Nishikori was steady but unspectacular under mostly blue skies.
By climbing up the ATP rankings, Nishikori realises he's been gaining a lot more attention at home because of his recent success. The 22-year-old advanced to the third round at Wimbledon.
"Everything changed in Japan and other countries," he said. "I'm feeling a little bit of tension, but it's something you don't get normally. It's good. Everybody knows me on the street or whatever in the tournament, that kind of stuff."
Ranked 18th in the world, he was ranked as high as 16 earlier this year.
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