Isner ends Hewitt hopes
Lleyton Hewitt's bid to claim his first title in more than two years ended in failure after he lost to John Isner in the final of the Campbell's Hall of Fame Championships in Newport.
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Former world number one Hewitt has not won an ATP trophy since the pre-Wimbledon event in Halle in 2010 when he stunned Roger Federer in the final.
But he could not repeat the feat against top seed and defending champion Isner who relied on his big serve to carry him to a 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 victory in one hour and 32 minutes.
After both players failed to capitalise on their one break point chance in the opening set, Isner built a 4-0 lead in the tie-break and closed it out on his first of five set points.
He broke Hewitt in the third game of the second set, and after the Australian saved one match point on serve in the ninth game, Isner clinched the victory with his 16th ace.
Despite the loss, it was an encouraging week for Hewitt, who has slipped to 233 in the rankings after battling to overcome a toe injury.
He said: "It's done a lot of good [for my confidence]. A lot of positives have come out of this week.
"Grass is a tough surface to come back on after any kind of surgery, and especially foot surgery, where my movement is such a big thing because on grass you're in the wrong positions a lot of the time. You've got to have that confidence in your footwork.
"Even at Wimbledon, I didn't feel totally comfortable with my footwork and it's taken matches and practice and a lot of time over the last week-and-a-half here in Newport and I feel like that's starting to come, which is a good thing, not only for the Olympics in a couple weeks' time, but obviously looking forward to the US Open and the rest of the year."
Isner was relieved more than anything to have keep his grip on the title.
"It feels very good," he said. "It's never easy coming to a tournament where in a previous year you won it. There's a lot of pressure on you. You don't do well, your ranking's going to drop.
"I did well, I defended those points and I kept my ranking where it's at. More importantly than that, I gained a lot of confidence from this week just as I did last year. I had a great, great summer last year. I hope to have much of the same this year."