Newport, 15 July 2013 |

Australian fourth seed Lleyton Hewitt ended two-time defending champion John Isner’s run on Newport’s grasscourts on Sunday with a three-set win in the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

Hewitt triumphed 5-7 6-2 6-4 and, in the final, will face Frenchman Nicolas Mahut who advanced by beating American Michael Russell 6-2 6-2.

The loss ended 13 straight match wins in Newport for the 28-year old Isner, the highest-ranked American at No.19.

“It’s never disappointing losing to a guy like Lleyton Hewitt, especially on this surface,” said Isner, who called for the trainer after the first changeover. “I was probably eventually going to lose this tournament. It just happened a little earlier than I thought or wanted.”

The towering Isner said he felt pain in his left knee area, similar to what forced him to retire in his second-round match at Wimbledon.

“It was obviously not as severe because I was able to continue,” he said. “It was a little bit scary. The more I think about it and the more I talk about it, I think it’s an issue with my quad because the pain is directly above my kneecap.”

But he said it wasn’t the reason he lost the match, which was played in bright sunshine under humid conditions.

“He handled the conditions much better than me, simple as that,” he said. “He deserved to win.”

Trailing 5-2 in the final set, second-seeded Isner broke Hewitt’s serve in the next game before deflecting three match points in the ninth and closing it with an ace to cut the deficit to 5-4.

At 40-30 in the final game, Hewitt ended the match with a forehand crosscourt shot. He raised both hands in the air before waving to his wife, Bec, in the stands.

Mahut, a wildcard, needed just 63 minutes to beat Russell, one day after their match was suspended by rain after the third point. Isner and Hewitt were not able to get started on Saturday.

Isner’s loss spoiled a rematch with Mahut. The pair played the longest match in tennis history when Isner beat Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010 – a match that lasted more than 11 hours.

Hewitt won a rematch of last year’s Hall of Fame final, won by Isner in straight sets.