Photo by Kate Whitney Lucey
The five seeded players in action today at Newport all advanced into the second round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Defending champion Nicolas Mahut opened the day on Center Court with a victory over Facundo Aruguello of Argentina. John Isner, a two-time past champion in Newport, then took to Center Court to defeat Wayne Odesnik, who qualified for the tournament.
Isner and Mahut, who have both been succesful at the event and have been popular staples of the tournament field, received warm welcomes back to Newport once again.
"I feel like at home, having played here for nine years," said Mahut. "I have my habits. I go to the same restaurant. Every year I'm waiting for this tournament."
After the match, Isner was off to enjoy a bit more of the New England summer experience, as he headed off to Fenway Park to throw the first pitch at a Red Sox game.
"It's going to be awesome," said Isner. "I have never been to Fenway. I love baseball. I'm going to enjoy that moment. Hope I throw a strike."
In the day's most dramatic action, Lleyton Hewitt battled back from a 1-6 loss in the first set to force three sets and claim the match over Ryan Harrison, ultimately winning 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.
"At the start I tried to come out and play really clean tennis," commented Hewitt. "It's totally different courts and conditions to playing in London. That was the hardest thing, so in the end, I just tried to win ugly more than anything. Just get balls back in play. With the wind out here on these courts, they're not bouncing as high as in England. It's a lot tougher out there. I wouldn't say it was the best-looking match, but I just found a way to win."
Hewitt, who has been in the Newport final the past two years in a row, will face Ante Pavic in tomorrow's second round. The rest of tomorrow's Order of Play is detailed below.
Also in action today was American Jack Sock, fresh off winning the Wimbledon doubles title, who overcame fellow American Alex Kuznetsov to advance into the second round. Also, No. 8 seed Adrian Mannarino of France defeated Jimmy Wang of Taiwan 6-2, 6-4.
In doubles action, the pairing of Donald Young and Divij Sharan of India upset the No. 1 seeded team of Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky, who were the tournament champions at Newport in 2012.