Isner Defeats Hewitt to Defend Title at Newport

by John on July 15, 2012

Defending champion John Isner rode his booming serve to defeat former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the final of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., this afternoon. The title was the No.11-ranked Isner’s first since Winston- Salem last August and the fourth of his career. Now 31 years of age, Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam champion with 28 career titles, was playing in his fourth tournament since returning from foot surgery in February. The Aussie great has endured five surgeries over the past four years and was ranked No. 233 coming into Newport. Isner, who served 16 aces on the day, was not broken in the match and held serve in 57 of 58 games during the week. “It’s huge for me,” the top-seeded Isner said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever defended a title. I’m very happy to come through today against a great opponent — in my opinion one of the greatest ever. It’s a big win for me.” After both players failed to capitalize on their one break point chance in the opening set, Isner raced to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker and closed it out on the first of his five set points. Isner broke Hewitt for the only time in the third game of the second set, and then sealed the win with three aces in the final game. The match lasted one hour and 32 minutes. “I gained a lot of confidence from this week, just like I did last year,” Isner said. “The first match was the toughest. I easily could have lost that match. I feel like I got better each and every match.” The big American was taken to three sets by qualifier Sergei Bubka in the opener. For Hewitt, the final was his first since Halle in 2010, when he defeated Roger Federer for the championship. The loss dropped Hewitt’s record to 7-1 in grass-court finals. “It’s done a lot of good [for my confidence],” Hewitt said. “A lot of positives have come out of this week. Grass is a tough surface to come back on after any kind of surgery, and especially foot surgery, where my movement is such a big thing, because on grass you’re in the wrong positions a lot of the time. You’ve got to have that confidence in your footwork.” Both players will compete in the London Olympics at SW19 in two weeks.




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