Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, a quarter-finalist last week in San Jose, beat No. 7 seed Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 6-4, 7-6(3) on Wednesday in the first round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.
Hewitt, who is ranked 70th and unseeded in the tournament, wasn’t pleased with how the second set unfolded.
“It’s always frustrating to be up a set and a break and [not] close it out,” Hewitt said.
“I felt like I came out and I was ready to go right from the start, which was a key out there because Lu is a good ball-striker,” the Australian said.
“He hits a lot of winners out there and it’s hard to be real aggressive against him,” Hewitt said.
In the men’s doubles top seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada ended Lu and Janko Tipsarevic’s hopes of progressing with a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Milos Raonic beat No. 2 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5), his second victory over the Spaniard in four days.
Raonic, aged 20 and the fastest rising young star on the ATP Tour, beat Verdasco on Sunday in the finals of the SAP Open in San Jose for his first career title.
He has risen from 159 in the world to start the year to 59 this week.
A frustrated Verdasco lamented having to play the hard-serving Raonic twice in conditions that favor his game and not the Spaniard’s.
The points were quickly played.
“For me that’s not a real match in tennis,” Verdasco said. “I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not only serve.”
In second round action, No. 4 Mardy Fish of the US defeated Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3) and Robert Kendrick beat fellow-American James Blake 7-6 (5), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP event for the first time since July 2006.
Frenchman Florent Serra knocked out No. 9 seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium, who had to retire in the second set trailing 6-2, 1-0.
In the women’s event, No. 3 seed Melanie Oudin of the US was eliminated by Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, 6-1, 7-5. Oudin’s loss left sixth-seeded Rebecca Marino of Canada as the lone remaining seed in the tournament.
AP, MARSEILLE, FRANCE
Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France rallied to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday in the second round of the Open 13.
The sixth-seeded Tsonga, who won the indoor tournament in Marseille two years ago, dropped his serve once in the first set but didn’t face another breakpoint.
Meanwhile, fourth seed Jurgen Melzer of Austria had an easier path into the last eight, beating Andreas Seppi of Italy 7-5, 6-3.
Tsonga broke Stakhovsky’s serve three times over the last two sets, while both players finished with 11 aces.
In other first-round matches, there were wins for Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, Germany’s Philipp Petzschner and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.
Ljubicic beat Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-4; Petzschner upset No. 7 Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-6 (2), 6-1, and Roger-Vasselin won 6-3, 6-2 against countryman Arnaud Clement.
AP, BUENOS AIRES
Fourth-seeded Albert Montanes of Spain beat Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the Copa Claro quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Montanes broke Fognini four times in the match, including the only break of the third set, and won 50 percent of the points on the Italian’s second serve.