Hewitt advances with first-round victory at SAP Open

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Lleyton Hewitt, the former top-ranked player looking for his first singles title in nearly three years, reached the second round of the SAP Open with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Blaz Kavcic on Tuesday.

"There were a lot of momentum changes throughout the match," said Hewitt, the Australian who won his last hardcourt title seven years ago. "He's a tough competitor out there. He's had a pretty good start to the year as well. It wasn't easy. In the end, I was happy to get through. I had to fight extremely hard."

Kavcic, a Slovenian, had won the first two meetings between the players.

Seeded players Denis Istomin and Marinko Matosevic also advanced.

The sixth-seeded Istomin, from Uzbekistan, beat qualifier Ryan Sweeting 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour, and the seventh-seeded Matosevic, from Australia, topped American Jack Sock, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

Hewitt, ranked 118th, won the event in 2002 and reached the 2006 final. He has 28 career titles and is 14-4 in San Jose.

Istomin broke Sweeting's serve early in each set and won 86 percent of his first serves to maintain the advantage.

The 47th-ranked Istomin lost to Milos Raonic last year in the final of the event and is coming off consecutive quarterfinal finishes in Brisbane and Sydney. He's 10-3 lifetime in San Jose.

The 156th ranked Sweeting earned a spot in his first ATP tour main draw of the season.

In other matches, Canadian Vasek Pospisil knocked off Russian Evgeny Donskoy, 7-5, 6-1; and German Benjamin Becker downed American Ryan Harrison, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-3.

Qatar Open

At Doha, Qatar, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova eased into the third round of the Qatar Open, dominating their opponents with straight-set victories.

Williams, who will regain the No. 1 ranking if she reached the semifinals, showed no signs of the back or ankle injuries that troubled her at the Australian Open during her 6-2, 6-1 win over Russian qualifier Daria Gavrilova.

The third-ranked Sharapova downed French qualifier Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2.

American Sloane Stephens, who defeated Williams at the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, beat Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-2.


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