Gilles Simon the first to reach last 16 in Cincinatti
Cincinnati: Ninth seed Gilles Simon became the first man to reach the third round at the Cincinnati Masters after a 7-6, 6-7, 6-1 win over Russian Igor Andreev.
After two tough sets, the Frenchman ran away with the deciding set to secure a meeting with either eighth seed Nikolay Davydenko or another Russian Igor Kunitsyn, who upset American James Blake 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.
Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt saved two match points on his way to beating 12th seed Robin Soderling, while 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez and number 11 Fernando Verdasco also went out.
Simon needed two hours 20 minutes to finally get the better of Andreev, who snatched the second-set tiebreak 10-8 to force a decider.
But in the end the Frenchman`s superior fitness proved the key as he made it four wins out of four against the Russian to reach the last 16.
Australian Hewitt, who has climbed back up the rankings to number 42 having slipped outside the top 100 earlier this year, was overpowered in the first set by Soderling, the runner-up at the French Open in June.
The Swede held match points at 6-5 and 8-7 in the second-set tiebreak but Hewitt held firm and after breaking in the first game of the deciding set, he held on for victory after two hours nine minutes.
"I felt it was a very high standard match," said Hewitt, who now plays German Benjamin Becker. "Both of us hit the ball extremely well, we both hit it extremely clean.”
"He`s the kind of guy who`s going to hit a lot of winners out there. You have got to make him play that one extra shot a lot of times."
Gonzalez retired after losing the first set 6-4 to Czech Tomas Berdych, while 11th seed Verdasco was beaten 7-6, 7-6 by fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who now plays Russian Mikhail Youzhny, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over Romania`s Victor Hanescu.
Italian Andreas Seppi secured a second-round meeting with world number three Rafa Nadal by seeing off Czech Jan Hernych 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
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