Lleyton Hewitt toppled Canadian Peter Polansky in three sets on Tuesday in the first round of the US men’s clay court championships in Houston.
The 33-year-old Australian No.1 has enjoyed a resurgence this year on the ATP Tour as he defeated 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer to win the Brisbane International in January.
Hewitt beat the 25-year-old qualifier Polansky 6-4 3-6 6-4 despite making 12 double faults in the two-hour, four-minute match.
Hewitt advanced to face American Sam Querrey who stopped Russia’s Alex Bogomolov 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the opening round.
“You’re never going to play clean tennis out there today, so it was a matter of finding a way to get through,” said Hewitt.
“And obviously he played three matches on these courts to get through qualifying, so he was confident as well. In the end I was just happy to get the win.”
Hewitt fired one ace, won 62 per cent of his first-serve points and saved eight-of-16 break points.
He recorded his 600th career victory last month when he beat Robin Haase in the first round of the Miami Masters tournament.
Hewitt is aiming for his third career clay court title and first in five years.
Polansky was Canada’s top ranked player in the second half of 2010 before being overtaken by current No.1 Milos Raonic.
Polansky, who is ranked 135th in the world, finished with three aces and three double faults. He won just seven-of-29 points on his second serve.
Germany’s Benjamin Becker and American Donald Young also advanced to the second round with straight-set wins on Tuesday.
Becker beat Spain’s Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-1 1-6 6-3 while Young needed just 41 minutes to rout fellow American Ryan Harrison 6-0 6-1.
This week’s top seeds are reigning champion John Isner, Tommy Robredo and last year’s runner-up Nicolas Almagro of Spain.
Isner beat Almagro in last year’s final and also reached the championship match here in 2012.