Big-serving Isner wins on Newport's grass courts

 

Associated Press

John Isner rode his fierce serve to another victory on Newport's grass courts, defeating Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 7-6 (6) Tuesday to reach the second round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

The 6-foot-10 Isner had 19 aces — with one serve topping 137 mph — 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."

Isner, the highest-ranked American at No. 12, won at Newport 2011 and 2012. He is seeded first at Newport for the third time in four years. His 13-match winning streak at the Hall of Fame Championships ended last year with a loss to Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals.

But for all his strong play on the court, Isner seemed more excited about what awaited in a few hours — he was to throw out 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 play, 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.

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