Houston: Lleyton Hewitt, sidelined in the wake of the Australian Open after hip surgery, shook off the rust to book a quarter-final berth at the US Men`s Clay Court Championships.
The defending champion from Australia, who did`t drop a set here last year, lost the first set 6-1 but rallied for a 1-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7/2) victory over Somdev Devvarman.
"Well, obviously, I was a little bit concerned," Hewitt said of the opening set.
He turned things around in impressive style in the second set, but Devvarman, a lucky loser from India, kept it close in the third.
Devvarman, a two-time US collegiate champion, twice recovered a break of serve.
That included breaking Hewitt in the ninth game as the Aussie served for the match.
Devvarman then served for the match at 6-5, but Hewitt held him off and triumphed in the tiebreaker.
Hewitt was joined in the quarter-finals by top-seeded Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, who beat South African qualifier Kevin Anderson 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Third-seeded American Sam Querrey and sixth-seeded Horacio Zeballos of Argentina also advanced.
But Belgian Xavier Malisse ousted second-seeded American John Isner 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3).
Querrey beat Slovak Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1 and Zeballos beat Israel`s Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-2.
American Wayne Odesnik advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Kazakhstan?s Mikhail Kukushkin.
Odesnik hasn`t dropped a set in two matches, despite facing a possible two-year ban after pleading guilty in Australia to possessing banned human growth hormone.
The International Tennis Federation said earlier this week that Odesnik was free to play pending the federation`s investigation into the matter.
Although he pleaded guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court to importing HGH, Odesnik has denied taking HGH or any other banned substance.
Malisse, who takes on Odesnik next, said he had no problem playing the American.
"I’ve got to focus on tennis," Malisse said. "He’s playing. He’s on the other side of the net (Friday), so I?ll treat him like any other tennis player."