Hewitt wins opener at rain-delayed Atlanta event

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ATLANTA (AP)—Lleyton Hewitt began warming up Tuesday for the hardcourts of the U.S Open with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Eduoard Roger-Vasselin in the first round of a rain-soaked Atlanta Open.

The seventh-seeded Hewitt, who was runner-up two weeks ago on grass in Newport, R.I., was one of three seeded players to finish his match before a pair of evening rain delays. Play eventually was suspended until Wednesday.

Yen-Hsun Lu, the No. 5 seed from Taipei, beat qualifier Kevin King 6-3, 7-5; and eighth seed Evgeny Donskoy beat Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-4. Sixth-seeded Mardy Fish was leading Michael Russell 6-4, 2-4 (15-0 on serve) when their match was delayed for a second time and then postponed at about 11:35 p.m. The first delay was 2 hours, 42 minutes.

This is just Fish's third tournament since he withdrew from the U.S. Open last September before a fourth-round match against Roger Federer because of complications related to an irregular heartbeat.

The top four seeds, Jon Isner, Kevin Anderson, Ivan Dodig and Igor Sijsling, had first-round byes.

Hewitt, the Australian former world No. 1 who won the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002, is looking forward to the final Grand Slam event of the year even though it's more than a month away. He's currently ranked No. 65 in the world.

''I hadn't hit a lot on hard court. I've always found that coming from grass to hard court is difficult,'' he said after winning in 88 minutes. ''I feel like I've played very well for the most part ... I'm preparing for the U.S. Open. When you've been No. 1 and won Slams, the big ones are what motivates you.''


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