Top-seeded Isner advances on grass at Newport
NEWPORT, Rhode Island (AP) — John Isner rode his fierce serve to another victory on Newport’s grass courts, defeating fellow American Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 7-6 (6) to reach the second round of the Hall of Fame Championships on Tuesday.
Isner had 19 aces — with one serve topping 137 mph (221 kph) — and only two double-faults in raising his career record at Newport to 14-3.
“I’m glad that I’m here and hopefully I can keep it going,” he said. “I’ve had good memories here in the past.”
Isner’s serves were so overpowering that a handful of them bounced into the seats. At one point in the opening set, Odesnik looked at a fan seated in the first row and said, “I need to borrow your seat to return his serve.”
But for all his strong play on the court, Isner seemed more excited about what awaited in a few hours — he was to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
“Let’s talk about Fenway,” he said, opening his news conference. “It’s going to be awesome. I have never been to Fenway. My initial thought was I wanted to go to the game and get off the court. Then I hear the good news. I love baseball. I’m going to enjoy that moment. Hope I throw a strike.”
Defending champion Nicolas Mahut of France, the No. 4 seed, defeated Facundo Arguello of Argentina 7-6 (1), 6-4.
“I feel like almost home,” he said. “I have my habits. I go to the same restaurant. Every year I’m waiting for this tournament.”
In the match of the day, No. 3 seed Hewitt of Australia advanced to the second round by rallying past American Ryan Harrison, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. Seventh-seeded Jack Sock beat fellow American Alex Kuznetsov, 6-4, 6-3.
In other first-round matches, eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France beat Jimmy Wang of Taiwan 6-2, 6-4; qualifier Austin Krajicek stopped fellow American Tim Smyczek, 7-6 (7), 6-1; Luke Saville of Australia ousted Peter Polansky of Canada 6-4, 6-2; Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine defeated Farrukh Dustov of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-2; and qualifier Ante Pavic of Croatia downed Marius Copil of Romania 7-6 (0), 6-4.