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ATP Atlanta: Hewitt into last eight; Harrison scores first big win

Steven Webb in ATP Tour 25 Jul 2013
Lleyton Hewitt upset the home crowd with a straight sets defeat of Rhyne Williams.

The rain-hit BB&T Atlanta Open got back on track on Wednesday, and there were wins for a seasoned campaigner as well as a member of generation next.

Lleyton Hewitt was in characteristically feisty form as he took on the USA’s Rhyne Williams, ranked 121 in the world. Williams, a wild card entrant, had beaten fellow American Denis Kudla in the opening round, and was on the cusp of taking the first set against Hewitt when he established a 6-2 lead in the tie-break.

But the Aussie knuckled down and won six points in a row to take the opener 7-6. He then converted his only break point opportunity of the second set to win it 6-4 and book a spot in the Atlanta quarter-finals for the first time in his career. There, he will face third seed Ivan Dodig, who came through a tough battle with Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-7, 6-3. Hewitt lost his only previous encounter with the Croatian on the hard courts of Valencia last year.

The remaining first round matches included two All-American battles. Thirty-three-year-old James Blake edged compatriot Tim Smyczek in a deciding set tie-break, while Michael Russell upset sixth seed Mardy Fish 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Fish, playing his first event since March, had built a one-set lead on Tuesday before rain interrupted play, but Russell came back stronger on Wednesday night.

“I played fantastic,” said the world number 85. “Mardy’s such a great competitor; I though he played really well in his first match back in four months. It’s positive for both of us.”

The other big news on Day Three of the Atlanta Open was Christian Harrison’s first ever ATP main draw victory. The 19-year-old defeated Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 in two hours, 11 minutes, ensuring that his ranking will get a major boost next week. His reward is a second round meeting with the top seed, John Isner.

However, big brother Ryan Harrison has a chance to maintain the upper had in the sibling rivalry, as he has a more winnable match against fourth seed Igor Sijsling on Thursday. In other second round action, Blake will take on Evgeny Donskoy, and Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden will play second seed Kevin Anderson.


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ATP Atlanta: Hewitt into last eight; Harrison scores first big win

Christian Harrison stepped out of his brother's shadow with a superb win at the Atlanta Open.

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