Reported by USA Today
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Defending champion John Isner and top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won Tuesday in the second round of the Winston-Salem Open.
Isner, seeded third and ranked 10th as the top American, was pushed to three sets before beating Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Tsonga, the highest-ranked player (sixth) in the final hard-court tournament before the U.S. Open, beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).
Isner, who was born in nearby Greensboro, N.C., showed the effects of a two-week layoff, coming out sluggish against Klizan.
The left-hander broke Isner’s serve in the opening game of the first set, and kept him scrambling with his groundstrokes.
However, Isner eventually picked up his game, serving 13 aces — the fastest recorded at 140 mph — and breaking Klizan’s serve late in each of the final two sets.
“I felt the match was going to be tough, and that’s exactly what it was,” Isner said. “He was playing pretty well, and I wasn’t on top of my game. That’s all it took in that first set, and from that point on I knew it was going to be a battle.
“I wasn’t that great out there today, but as the tournament progresses, I should get stronger.”
Isner will next face 13th-seeded Jurgen Melzer, who fought off a challenge from 303rd-ranked qualifier Michael McClune to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (12-10).
Tsonga, a semifinalist at Wimbledon earlier this season, broke Bellucci’s serve in the first set. But the Brazilian overcame four double faults to force a second-set tiebreaker.
“It was a good match for me,” said Tsonga, who teamed with Michael Llodra to win France the silver medal in men’s doubles at the London Olympics. “The second set, I had many occasions to finish it, but I did much better in the tiebreaker.”
Tsonga will next play qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky, who upset 15th-seeded Pablo Andujar 6-2, 6-3.
In addition to Andujar, three other seeded players were eliminated Tuesday: eighth-seeded Julien Benneteau, last year’s Winston-Salem runner-up; 11th-seeded Denis Istomin; and 12th-seeded Kevin Anderson.
Benneteau lost to Lukasz Kubot 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, his second straight win over a seeded player; Istomin lost to Steve Darcis 6-2, 6-2; while Anderson fell to qualifier Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).
Also advancing to Wednesday’s round of 16 were second-seeded Tomas Berdych, fourth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, sixth seed Marcel Granollers, seventh-seeded Sam Querrey, ninth-seeded Feliciano Lopez, 14th seed David Nalbandian and 16th seed Jarkko Nieminen .
Berdych beat Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3, 7-5; Dolgopolov downed Yen-Hsun Lu 6-1, 6-3; Granollers won 6-4, 6-2 over Ryan Harrison; Querrey defeated Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2; Lopez defeated Donald Young 6-2, 6-3; Nalbandian beat Robin Haase 6-2, 6-4; and Nieminen was a 6-3, 6-3 winner against Benjamin Becker.