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Isner, Defending Memphis Champ Melzer Fall; Querrey, Nishikori Advance

Memphis, U.S.A.

Sijsling© Memphis Tennis/Ron AngleIgor Sijsling defeated defending Memphis champion Jurgen Melzer.

World No. 63 Denis Istomin knocked out third seed John Isner 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Tuesday evening in Memphis.

Istomin outserved the American, winning 86 per cent of his service points. The Uzbek broke Isner three times to clinch the upset in just over an hour, levelling their FedEx ATP Head2Head series to a 1-1 mark.

Isner's fourth-seeded countryman Sam Querrey fared better, defeating Alejandro Falla for the second straight week with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Querrey, the 2010 champion, won 52 per cent of his return points to advance in 58 minutes. The American also beat Falla in his Memphis opener in 2012.

For the second week in a row, World No. 71 Igor Sijsling pulled off a big win in the first round of an ATP World Tour 500 tournament, this time ousting defending champion Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 7-6(3). Last week, the Dutch player had recorded his first Top 10 win by beating World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The No. 27-ranked Melzer lifted the trophy with victory over Milos Raonic in last year’s final. The left-handed Austrian was playing his first event since finishing runner-up to Marin Cilic at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors.

Fifth seed Kei Nishikori beat qualifier Illya Marchenko of Ukraine 6-4, 7-5. Nishikori is playing his first event since reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open (l. to Ferrer) and is making his second appearance in Memphis.

Former World No. 4 James Blake rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Germany’s Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 79 minutes. It was Blake’s first tour-level win of the season. The American has fallen to No. 109 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and is coming off a semi-final showing at a Challenger in Dallas. The 33 year old reached the Memphis final in 2002 (l. to Roddick).

World No. 86 Michael Russell recorded just his second tour-level win of the season as he defeated Russia’s Alex Bogomolov Jr., 6-2, 6-4. The American, a quarter-finalist in Memphis two years ago, broke serve five times to clinch victory in 77 minutes.

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