VALENCIA OPEN 2012
Hewitt Ousts London Contender Monaco; Isner Survives
by ATP Staff|
Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt dealt a blow to Juan Monaco’s outside hopes of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as he defeated the fourth-seeded Argentine 6-3, 6-4 on Monday in the first round of the Valencia Open 500.
The 28-year-old Monaco started the week at 12th in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London, 970 points adrift of the eighth-placed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He suffered his third successive defeat since winning the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur crown (d. Benneteau), having fallen in the second round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo (l. to Baghdatis) and the first round at the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Verdasco).
In a match featuring eight breaks of serve, the 31-year-old Hewitt converted five of his 12 opportunities to seal victory over last year’s runner-up in one hour and 42 minutes. It is his first win over a Top 12 player this season. The Australian, who is coming off a quarter-final showing at the If Stockholm Open (l. to Almagro), improved to a 16-13 match record.
"Monaco is a good player. The second set was tough," said Hewitt. "I played some matches in Stockholm; I reached the quarter-finals against Alamgro."
Fifth seed John Isner kept his year-end championship qualification hopes alive as he edged Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5. The American was denied on 10 of the 13 break points he created, but broke serve in the final game of the match to prevail in two hours and 16 minutes.
The 27-year-old Isner is currently 14th in the Race To London and bidding to qualify for the season finale for the first time. The right-hander secured his 45th match win of the season, highlighted by winning ATP World Tour titles in Newport (d. Hewitt) and Winston-Salem (d. Berdych).
In an all-Spanish first-round contest, 2004 champion Fernando Verdasco defeated wild card Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4. The Madrid native broke serve five times from 12 opportunities to claim his 32nd win of the season in 90 minutes.
Spaniard Albert Ramos snapped a four-match losing streak by beating American qualifier Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 41 minutes. Ramos saved all seven break points faced on serve.
Belgium’s David Goffin capitalised on eight of his 11 break point chances to dismiss Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-2, 6-2 in 71 minutes. The 21 year old claimed his first ATP World Tour-level win since reaching the Winston-Salem Open quarter-finals (l. to Isner).