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Isner begins Hall of Fame title defense

July 10, 2012 at 7:11 PM

NEWPORT, R.I., July 10 (UPI) -- Top-seeded defending champion John Isner fired 20 aces Tuesday in his opening-round victory over Sergei Bubka at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

The 6-foot-9 American got past the Ukrainian qualifier 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3 to begin his title defense at Newport, R.I., where he beat Belgian Olivier Rochus in last year's grass-court finale.

His next opponent will be France's Nicolas Mahut. Isner and Mahut were involved in an epic, 11-hour-long opening-round Wimbledon match two years ago, which Isner won.

Also Tuesday, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt needed just 49 minutes to dispatch Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-1.

Among the other winners at Newport were second-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, unseeded Americans Sam Querrey and Rajeev Ram, and third-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic.

Fourth-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan lost to American qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-3, 6-3 and eighth-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg was upended by South African qualifier Izak Van der Merwe 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (3-7), 6-4.

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