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Hewitt Solves Kavcic Riddle; Verdasco Toppled

San Jose, U.S.A.

Hewitt© Alex Smith/SAP OpenLleyton Hewitt scored his first win in three attempts against Blaz Kavcic.

Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt overcame a set and a break deficit against Blaz Kavcic on Tuesday in San Jose, edging the Slovenian 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) to win their first-round encounter at the SAP Open.

Hewitt had lost his first two meetings with Kavcic and found himself in a major hole on two occasions. He trailed 3-6, 1-3 and faced a break point before rallying to win the second set. The Australian then went down 1-3, 15/40 in the deciding set, but clawed his way back to prevail in two hours and 35 minutes.

“It was a tough match. There were a lot of momentum changes throughout the match,” said Hewitt. “He’s a tough player and competitor out there. He’s had a pretty good start to the year as well. It wasn’t easy. In the end, I was happy to get through.”

The 31 year old is one of three former champions competing at the ATP World Tour 250 event in San Jose, having triumphed in 2002 (d. Agassi). He joins two-time reigning champion Milos Raonic and 2010 titlist Fernando Verdasco. Hewitt plays third-seeded Sam Querrey in the second round.

Returning finalist Denis Istomin defeated qualifier Ryan Sweeting 6-3, 6-4 in 66 minutes. The sixth seed broke the American once in each set to improve to 3-0 in the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Istomin began this season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International (l. to Murray) and Apia International Sydney (l. to Anderson).

Seventh seed Marinko Matosevic beat Jack Sock 7-6(5), 6-1. The American wild card served for the first set at 6-5, but Matosevic broke back to force a tie-break and surged ahead to claim victory in 81 minutes.

Benjamin Becker overcame Ryan Harrison 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3 to improve to 1-2 versus the American. Becker converted four of his 10 break points to take the first-round meeting in two hours and 24 minutes. Harrison was defending a semi-final showing (l. to Raonic).

Canada’s Vasek Pospisil eased past Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-1 in 71 minutes. Pospisil did not face a break point, winning 31 of his 35 first serve points to win his tour-level season debut. He faces off against second-seeded John Isner next.

In the day's last match, qualifier Tim Smyczek toppled fifth seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and two minutes in the pair's first meeting. The American World No. 105 served six aces and saved the only two break points he faced.

His next opponent is either Ivo Karlovic or countryman Steve Johnson.

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