Defending Champion, John Isner, shook off the rust just in time to defeat a fiesty Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the Winston-Salem Open on Tuesday.
Isner, from nearby Greensboro, was sluggish early as the left handed Klizan came out of the gate fast with sharp looking ground strokes. Isner struggled with some unforced errors and quickly fell behind in the first set as the home crowd attempted to pick up the highest ranked American Man.
After dropping the first set, Isner looked sharper in the second. Both players held serve until Isner broke through at 5-3 and served out the second set.
In the third, much like the second, both fought hard holding their serve but Isner saved his best tennis for last breaking Klizan at love to go up 6-5. He quickly closed out the scrappy Slovakian to win the decisive set 7-5 to advance.
After the match Isner said of Klizan, "I felt the match was going to be tough, and that's exactly what it was....He was playing pretty well, and I wasn't on top of my game. That's all it took in that first set, and from that point on I knew it was going to be a battle."
A battle it was, but Isner moves on to face Jurgen Melzer of Austria, who defeated American Michael McClune on Tuesday. The two will square off under the lights on Wednesday.
In other early action on Tuesday, American Sam Querrey finished off a rain delayed match against Santiago Giraldo to advance, 6-3, 6-2. It was 2nd seeded Tomas Berdych in straight sets over Alex Bogomolov Jr. to advance.
Earlier, Lukasz Kubot of Poland upset Julien Benneteau 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 while Alexandr Dogolpolov took care of Y. Lu in straight sets.