HEWITT EDGES ISNER
Two-time former champion Lleyton Hewitt ousted 2012 runner-up John Isner 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The Australian did not drop serve in the two-hour, 23-minute contest, saving the four break points he faced, and withstood 18 aces to break Isner twice from nine opportunities. He closed out victory on his fourth match point.
"With John, you get a few opportunities out there to break, and you have to stand up and take your chances when they come," said Hewitt. "I felt like I had the more chances throughout the match. [It feels] great. Obviously being a quality player and in tough conditions as well to return his serve. Doesn't really surprise me that he made the final here last year."
The 32-year-old Hewitt claimed back-to-back wins for the first time since October, when he reached the Stockholm quarterfinals. The Adelaide native has a 29-11 match record at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, winning back-to-back titles in 2002 (d. Henman) and 2003 (d. Kuerten) and finishing runner-up in 2005 (l. to Federer).
The 27-year-old Isner was hampered by a right knee injury at the start of the season, missing the Australian Open, and has since struggled to regain top form. The American No. 15 seed knocked out World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to reach the final last year, finishing runner-up to Roger Federer.
"It's a tough match. I knew it was going to be. Lleyton is such a good competitor,” said Isner. “I felt like I could have played a little bit better. I needed to play very well to win today, and I don't feel like I necessarily did that. But I think Lleyton had a lot to do with it. It's very disappointing.
"But I believe things will get better. As long as I continue to believe that, then I just hope that things will get better, and I do believe that they will. Just gotta keep plugging away."
Hewitt next will face Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the No. 18 seed, who rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over qualifier Wayne Odesnik.