ATP BNP Paribas Open: Lleyton Hewitt plays down impending milestone
Last Updated: 08/03/14 8:02am
Lleyton Hewitt needed three sets to reach the second round at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The Australian overcome compatriot Matthew Ebden 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 – and Hewitt will now tackle Kevin Anderson, with the former world No 1 targeting a 600th career victory.
Hewitt, who will follow Roger Federer and Nadal in reaching the milestone, said: "It means I'm getting old, that's all.
"Obviously, it means I've had a lot of success, but it's not something I'm focused on at all.”
Radek Stepanek overcame a set blip to set-up a second-round showdown with top seed Rafael Nadal.
The world No 50 had looked to be cruising through against Denis Istomin when a rare lapse meant the game went into a deciding set.
Held his nerve
Stepanek, though, rallied to record a 6-13-6 6-1 victory in almost two hours – and he will be joined by fellow Czechs Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely in the next round.
Rosol recovered from a set down to oust Dusan Lajovic 6-7 (7-2) 7-5 6-4, while Vesely outlasted Igor Sijsling 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1).
Tim Smyczek held his nerve to see off rising star Jack Sock 6-4 1-6 6-4, Michael Russell toppled Donald Young 4-6 6-1 6-2 and Ryan Harrison registered a 6-4 7-5 win over Andrey Golubev.
However fellow Americans Robby Ginepri and Rhyne Williams crashed out in straight sets. Paul-Henri Mathieu was too strong for Ginepri as the Frenchman won 6-2 6-3, while Jeremy Chardy won the crucial points to beat Williams 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.
Ivo Karlovic, Juan Monaco, Santiago Giraldo, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Alejandro Falla were also first-round winners.