(March 9, 2013) Ten years ago Lleyton Hewitt won his second Indian Wells title at the age of 22. On Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open the 32-year-old veteran upset 15th seed John Isner in the second round 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4.
In capturing the two-hour, 23-minute match, the former No. 1, now ranked 98, Hewitt saved all four break points he faced, and held firm despite Isner’s 18 aces. Isner could only put in 59 % of his first serves in.
“I felt like I had the more chances throughout the match,” Hewitt said. “You know, first set could have gone either way, and then dug deep early in that second set to get up a break. That was a big momentum change then, to have that break up my sleeve.
“He was still dangerous, though, using his forehand a lot on my service games and trying to hit through the court. I was able to hang tough there and get the vital break and go up 4‑3 in that final set.”
Isner, last year’s losing finalist in Indian Wells, was sidelined at the Australian Open due to a right knee injury.
“It’s a tough match. I knew it was going to be. Lleyton is such a good competitor,” said Isner. “I felt like I could have played a little bit better. I needed to play very well to win today, and I don’t feel like I necessarily did that. But I think Lleyton had a lot to do with it. It’s very disappointing.
“But I believe things will get better. As long as I continue to believe that, then I just hope that things will get better, and I do believe that they will. Just gotta keep plugging away.”
“He’s scrappy,” Isner continued. “He’s a very good player. Tough match. He can give anybody a tough match. I don’t think ‑‑ there’s no shame in losing to him, certainly.
“It’s just, you know, no one likes losing early in tournaments, and I’m the same.”
Hewitt will face 18th seed Stanislas Wawrinka next.