SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, looking for his first singles title in nearly three years, reached the second round of the SAP Open with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Blaz Kavcic on Tuesday.
"There were a lot of momentum changes throughout the match," said Hewitt, the Australian who won his last hardcourt title seven years ago. "He's a tough competitor out there. He's had a pretty good start to the year as well. It wasn't easy. In the end, I was happy to get through. I had to fight extremely hard."
Kavcic, a Slovenian, had won the first two meetings between the players.
Seeded players Denis Istomin and Marinko Matosevic also advanced.
The sixth-seeded Istomin of Uzbekistan beat qualifier Ryan Sweeting 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour, and the Australian seventh seed Matosevic topped American Jack Sock, 7-6 (5), 6-1.
Hewitt, ranked 118th, won at San Jose in 2002 and reached the 2006 final. He has 28 career titles and is 14-4 in San Jose.
"You always enjoy coming back to places where you've had good success," Hewitt said. "My main focus now is Davis Cup and Grand Slams at his stage of my career. But I want to prepare as well as possible for the big tournaments. I always give 100 per cent, no matter which tournament I am at."
Istomin broke Sweeting's serve early in each set and won 86 per cent of his first serves to maintain the advantage.
The 47th-ranked Istomin lost to Milos Raonic last year in the final of the event and is coming off consecutive quarterfinal finishes in Brisbane and Sydney. He's won 10 of 13 matches in San Jose.
The 156th ranked Sweeting earned a spot in his first ATP tour main draw of the season.
In other matches, Canada's Vasek Pospisil downed Russian Evgeny Donskoy, 7-5, 6-1; and German Benjamin Becker beat American Ryan Harrison, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-3.
In doubles action, Michael and Bob Bryan edged Americans Steve Johnson and Sock, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5).
The Bryans have 84 doubles titles and 13 Grand Slam titles. They are yet to win a title in nine previous visits to San Jose.
"This is our second home," Michael Bryan said. "We wear our Stanford outfits when we come here. This is the year we have to win here."