Top seed and defending champion John Isner advanced to the quarter-finals at the Hall of Fame Tennis championships on Wednesday with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
Two years ago, the pair played for 11 hours, 5 minutes at Wimbledon in the longest match in tennis history, with Isner finally getting a 70-68 fifth-set victory.
Wednesday’s clash did not have nearly the drama, as Isner used his overpowering serve to take charge. It ended when Mahut double-faulted, ending the match after 1 hour, 18 minutes.
Last year, the pair met again at Wimbledon, with Isner winning in three sets in a match that lasted about two hours.
Second seed Kei Nishikori of Japan also advanced to the quarter-finals, outlasting Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2, while Israeli Dudi Sela beat Sam Querrey of the US 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2.
Rajeev Ram, the 2009 Newport champion, beat fellow American Michael Russell 7-6 (10/8), 6-3, while Izak van der Merwe of South Africa beat Jack Sock of the US 6-4, 6-4.
In the late match, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, playing on a wild card, beat qualifier Tim Smyczek of the US 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.
Isner broke Mahut in the first game of the match and again in the third en route to a 4-0 lead. He closed the first set in 31 minutes, getting aces on the final three points.
“From the moment I warmed up today, I knew I was going to play better,” said Isner, who struggled in his opening-round match on Tuesday. “Getting that first match over yesterday helped a lot — even though it wasn’t the prettiest of matches.”
“Next year’s Wimbledon we’ll probably see each other,” he said, smiling.
Isner had 13 aces in the match.
Nishikori, ranked 18th in the world, held a 5-0 lead in the tiebreak, before losing the first set. He threw his racket to the ground twice as he headed to his chair for a break.
“It’s always tough when you have set point and you lose the set,” he said. “I just tried to forget the first set and concentrate on each game. Luckily, I got a break in the third game. I was able to keep my fight going.”
AP, UMAG, Croatia
Marin Cilic defeated Daniel Brands of Germany 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Croatia Open on Wednesday.
The second-seeded Croat was in control throughout, hitting six aces and dropping serve only once.
Brands wasted two break points for a 2-0 lead in the second set and Cilic then won five games in a row.
“I played a very good match, I made almost no mistake at all,” Cilic said. “It was a bit easier than I had expected, since this was my first match on clay after a while. I felt I was in control the whole time.”
Cilic faces Wayne Odesnik after the American rallied to beat Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).
Kavcic wasted a 5-1 lead in the third set and was later two points away from closing out the match at 5-4.
Matthias Bachinger of Germany downed seventh seed Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 after Klizan had looked set to make his first ATP quarter-final appearance when leading 4-2 in the third set.
In the late match, Marcel Granollers of Spain defeated Italy’s Potito Starace 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Former champion David Ferrer advanced to the quarter-finals of the Swedish Open in Bastad by defeating Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.