Pro Tennis Internet Network

Isner, Hewitt Advance To QFs; Exodus Of Seeds Continues

Houston, U.S.A.

John Isner© Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCCJohn Isner

American wild card John Isner went the distance in his second round match at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Houston, battling to a 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(5) victory over Chilean Paul Capdeville on Wednesday.

Isner conceded the only break of serve during the two-hour, 39-minute match in the opening set, although Capdeville held three break points in the second set and Isner three in the third. The American fired 24 aces total, his second highest tally of the 2009 season and ninth most in his career, as he went on to clinch the win in two tie-breaks. He improved to a 29-22 lifetime record in tie-breaks with his effort Wednesday, while Capdeville fell to 19-26.

The 23 year old advances to his second quarter-final this season, previously reaching this stage as a qualifier in January at Auckland (l. to Soderling). Last month, he achieved his best showing at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament when he defeated Gael Monfils and Marat Safin en route to the Indian Wells fourth round (l. to del Potro).

Isner will next confront countryman Wayne Odesnik, ensuring that an American will reach the semi-finals for the ninth straight year in Houston. Odesnik advanced to his first ATP World Tour semi-final at this event last year, and held two match points against eventual champion Marcel Granollers before succumbing in three sets.

Odesnik continued the woes of seeded players with No. 3 Jurgen Melzer of Austria becoming the latest casualty, 6-4, 6-0. It marked Melzer’s earliest loss in six Houston appearances, having reached the quarter-finals or better on his previous visits. He reached the final in 2006 before losing to American Mardy Fish in three sets.

Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez also accounted for a seeded player, easily dismissing No. 4 Jeremy Chardy of France 6-1, 6-0. Garcia-Lopez is through to his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the 2009 season, and will next confront former ATP World Tour Champion Lleyton Hewitt after the Aussie converted all seven of his break point chances to defeat Argentine Sergio Roitman 6-1, 6-3 in 57 minutes.

The 28-year-old Hewitt has a 10-8 season record, highlighted by a semi-final run at Memphis (l. to Roddick) and quarter-final result in Sydney (l. to Nalbandian). He finished 2008 ranked outside the Top 25 for the first time since his rookie campaign in 1998 after being hobbled by a left hip injury, and entered the week at No. 88 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings.

Following Melzer and Chardy’s losses Wednesday, defending champion Granollers is the only seeded player remaining in the draw. The sixth-seeded Spaniard plays his second round match against another former champion, 2004 winner Tommy Haas, on Thursday night. Should Granollers lose, it would be the first time since the US Men’s Clay Court Championship went to a 32-player draw in 1998 that no seeds would have reached the quarter-finals.

Top seed James Blake and No. 2 Fish were among the top title contenders to stumble in their opening matches.

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Lionel Maltese


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