Cincinnati, Ohio – Two-time runner-up Lleyton Hewitt led fellow Aussie Chris Guccione to wins Tuesday at the Cincinnati Masters with his upset of Swedish 12th seed Robin Soderling 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.
Playing after recovering from an elbow injury that had kept him out of Montreal, French Open finalist Soderling was unable to close out against the determined Hewitt.
The two-time Grand Slam champion Australian saved match points in the second-set tiebreaker on his way to turning it around for victory in the third.
Qualifier Guccione knocked off German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, hammering 19 aces in his 90-minute win.
Czech Tomas Berdych went through at the expense of 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez, who quit after losing the first set 6-4.
Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez put out another seed as he accounted for number 11 countryman Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4).
Hewitt, who has been coming to Cincinnati for a decade without a title, achieved his comeback win after suffering with a hip injury in recent weeks in North America.
“I knew it would be a tough match,” said the 28-year-old. “It was nice to get a win and go through.”
Hewitt’s compact game was in contrast to the free-swinging attack from Soderling. The Swede struck 55 winners but also had 50 unforced errors. Hewitt managed 19 winners but help his unforced error count to 11.
Hewitt’s victory was his 23rd at Cincinnati against seven losses at an event where he has reached the semi-finals or better five times.