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Makarova, Vesnina make it to 2nd round of Eastbourne

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EASTBOURNE, England —¬†Russian former champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina moved into the second round of the Eastbourne International on Monday.

Makarova, who established herself on the WTA Tour by claiming the title in 2010 as a 100th-ranked qualifier, fought off five first-set points to beat British wild card Tara Moore 7-5, 6-4, and 2013 winner Vesnina beat Britain’s Heather Watson 6-2, 6-3.

There were also victories for Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who overcame the challenge of China’s Saisai Zheng to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, and Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who dismissed American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-2.

Vesnina next plays defending champion Belinda Bencic. The Swiss teenager fell and was forced to retire with a leg injury during her opening match in Birmingham last week, but has declared herself fit and ready to defend her title.

“I have been doing the physio treatment all day,” said Bencic. “Yesterday I was practicing, so I should be fine. I still tape it a lot, so it’s a little bit hurting but it’s okay.”

The pre-Wimbledon event features seven former champions, including top seed, 2008 champion and last year’s finalist Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Italy’s Roberta Vinci is seeded two, Bencic is seeded three and Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland is seeded four.

John Isner advances to Atlanta Open quarterfinals

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ATLANTA — Second-seeded John Isner beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday night in the 6-foot-10 former University of Georgia star’s opening match in the BB&T Atlanta Open.

Coming off a victory Sunday in the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island, Isner is seeking his fourth Atlanta title in five seasons. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the final last year.

Isner set up a quarterfinal match at Atlantic Station against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over sixth-seeded Donald Young. The American has 11 career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.

Third-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Tommy Paul also reached the quarterfinals. Muller beat France’s Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3, and Paul topped Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3.

In the top half of the draw, top-seeded Jack Sock will open play Thursday with a second-round match against Israel’s Dudi Sela.

Top-seeded John Isner wins 3rd Hall of Fame title

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NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.

The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.

“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”

Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.

“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.

“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”