Two-time defending champ John Isner defeated fellow American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7/0), 6-2 on Monday in the opening round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
The 2.05m Isner rode his big serve to win his 11th straight match on Newport’s grass courts.
The 28-year old Isner showed no effects from a left knee injury that forced him to retire from his second-round match at Wimbledon. He blanked Harrison in the first-set tie breaker and then broke him twice in the second set, before Harrison hit a backhand return long on match point.
On his way to the title last year, Isner held serve in 57 of the 58 games he played.
It was a similar formula that he used on Monday.
Top seed Sam Querrey was slated to face fellow American Tim Smyczek is his first-round match yesterday.
Also on Monday, Poland’s Michal Przysiezny beat 15-year-old American Stefan Kozlov, who was making his ATP debut, 6-3, 6-7 (9/11), 6-4 in a match that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Kozlov broke to go up 4-3 in the third set, before calling for the trainer, who worked on his right hip.
The match ended with the youngster limping before falling to the ground as he made his way to the net. He sat in his chair for a while with a towel over his head before slowly walking off the court.
The tournament is held in conjunction with induction ceremonies into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Martina Hingis leads this year’s class that will be enshrined on Saturday before the semi-finals.
In other first-round matches, France’s Adrian Mannarino, who advanced at Wimbledon when Isner retired and reached the fourth round, beat American veteran James Blake 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 and Japan’s Yuichi Sugita got by Canadian Jesse Levine 7-5, 7-5.
AP, BASTAD, Sweden
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov rallied after dropping the first set to Elias Ymer, a Swedish wild card ranked 1,032, to secure a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory in the opening round of the SkiStar Swedish Open.
The fifth-seeded Dimitrov was broken twice in the opening set before finding his service form and taking control of the nearly two-hour match.
The 17-year-old Ymer was playing in his first ATP Tour-level match.
In other matches, Argentine Carlos Berlocq upset seventh-seeded countryman Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 6-3 and Argentine Martin Alund overcame another Swedish wild card, Markus Eriksson, 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (10/8) in a three-hour, 25-minute battle.
Top seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic has a bye in the first round.