ATP BNP Paribas Open: Lleyton Hewitt plays down impending milestone
Last Updated: 08/03/14 8:02am
Lleyton Hewitt hits a return to Matthew Ebden during the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells
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.