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Isner Advances After Ace Barrage In Delray Beach

Delray Beach, U.S.A.

Isner© CameraSport

Top seed John Isner fired a season-high 28 aces Tuesday night to defeat Canadian Jesse Levine in the first round of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. The Greensboro, N.C. native is looking to return to Top 10 form after battling a knee injury early in the season.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match," Isner said. "The first match outdoors is always tough. Very different conditions. Jesse’s good. I’ve always had trouble with him. Honestly, it was a good one to get through. A win is a win and I haven’t had many lately. I’m just trying to get this train going. I’ll rest up and I anticipate I’ll be better.”

A semi-finalist in Delray Beach last year, Isner advances to play Japan’s Go Soeda, who survived a third-set tie-break to defeat 2012 finalist Marinko Matosevic. Soeda trailed 3-6 in the tie-break but saved three consecutive match points during a five-point winning streak to close out the match 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6).

Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis reached the second round after dismissing American wild card James Blake, 6-1, 6-4 in 73 minutes. World No. 109 Gulbis, who won the Delray Beach title in 2010 (d. Karlovic), claimed his fourth tour-level win of the season as he converted seven of his 17 break point chances and hit eight aces.

Another American lost in first-round action as Spanish qualifier Daniel Munoz-de la Nava battled past Ryan Harrison 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes. The 31-year-old Munoz-de la Nava recorded his first tour-level win of the year, while No. 76-ranked Harrison suffered his fourth successive defeat.

Second seed Tommy Haas advanced when opponent Igor Sijsling was forced to retired with a left ankle injury. The Dutch player landed awkwardly after hitting a ground stroke and was forced to retire after Haas had levelled the match at 5-7, 6-4. Former World No. 2 Haas reached the San Jose final two weeks ago (l. to Raonic) and has a 6-3 record in 2013. He won the Delray Beach title on his debut in 2006 (d. Malisse).

Former champion Kei Nishikori retired in the first set with an oblique strain when trailing big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic 4-5.

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