Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
Lleyton Hewitt earned his 600th ATP match victory when he came back from a set and a break down to defeat Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 during first-round action at the Sony Open Tennis tournament on Thursday afternoon.
Hewitt trailed 3-1 in the second set before mounting his charge with a streak of five consecutive games in his favor. The 33-year-old Australian worked similar magic in the third, although in that frame he did not fall behind by a break. Starting at 2-3, Hewitt reeled off four straight games to clinch victory. Haase double-faulted three times in the final game of the match, essentially sealing his own fate.
A former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion, Hewitt improved his lifetime record to 600-241 after one hour and 57 minutes. His reward is a Friday night date with current world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
“Today was just like another match and an opportunity to go out there and play well,” Hewitt explained. “Afterwards…a great milestone. Not many people get to achieve [600 wins]. Means I have been around for an awfully long time, as well. I’m getting old.”
As for players who are not getting old anytime soon, Americans Ryan Harrison, Jack Sock, and Donald Young joined Hewitt in the second round. Harrison preceded Hewitt on Stadium court got the best of Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-4, Young rolled over Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-2, and Sock made similarly routine work of Guido Pella in a 6-3, 6-4 win.
Interestingly, Young’s only previous encounter with Berlocq had come at this same event in 2006, when the Argentine humiliated Young 6-0, 6-0. In the very next round, Berlocq lost 6-0, 6-0 himself–to James Blake. Young had no trouble turning the tide eight years later and he is safely through to an all-American showdown against John Isner.
In history-making news of the day, Bernard Tomic made a premature comeback from hip surgery that had sidelined him since the Australian Open. The result was the shortest match of all-time on the ATP Tour, with Tomic going down to Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1 in 28 minutes and 20 seconds. The 21-year-old Australian won one point in the first five games, three points in the first set, and 13 points in total.