HOUSTON -- Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt beat Canada's Peter Polansky 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in gusty conditions Tuesday to advance to the second round of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.
Also advancing were Americans Donald Young and Michael Russell. Young routed countryman Ryan Harrison 6-0, 6-1, and Houston-based Russell eliminated Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 7-6 (2). Harrison was plagued by a back injury that later forced him to pull out of the doubles.
Top-seeded John Isner, ranked a career-high ninth, begins his title defence Wednesday night against Germany's Dustin Brown.
The 33-year-old Hewitt, who won the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon the following year, is current ranked 46th. He also won this tournament at River Oaks Country Club in 2009.
Polansky, a Thornill, Ont. native who is ranked 135th, had already survived three qualifying matches to get into the main draw. Hewitt suggested that complicated things for him, as did the unpredictable winds.
"Really tough conditions," the seventh-seeded Hewitt said. "You're never going to play clean tennis out there. It was just a matter of finding a way to get through. He'd (won) three matches on these courts so obviously he was confident. In the end, I was just happy to get the win."
Germany's Benjamin Becker beat Spain's Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, but another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, fought off American qualifier Robbie Ginepri 7-5, 6-2. The fifth-seeded Lopez broke Ginepri when he was serving for the first set, turning the match in his favour.
Also Tuesday, Steve Johnson, a two-time NCAA singles champion, ousted Dennis Kudla 6-3, 7-6 (4).