Delray Beach, Florida: Denis Istomin saved all seven break points he faced on serve en route to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Aussie Matthew Ebden in the first round of the Delray Beach Tennis Championships on Monday.
The 25-year-old Uzbekistani avenged a loss to the Ebden in their only other career meeting in Brisbane last year. The South African-born Ebden won that contest in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
Istomin hammered seven aces, won 77 percent of his first-serve points in the 78 minute match on Monday.
In other first round matches on Monday, Ryan Sweeting routed Donald Young in an all-US match 6-1, 6-1 and Israel's Dudi Sela defeated Denis Kudla, of the USA, 6-4, 6-3.
The 82nd-ranked Sweeting is making his fourth appearance at this event. He reached the quarter-finals last year.
Istomin is ranked 51st in the world which is just off his career high ranking of 40th in 2010. He is 9-5 this year and two weeks ago he reached the final of the San Jose Open where he lost to Canadian Milos Raonic.
Istomin advances to the second round where he will play the winner of a match between American veteran Andy Roddick and Germany's Philip Petzschner.
Istomin has played tennis since a young age but he did not touch a racquet for two years after suffering serious injuries in a car smash at age 15 while travelling to a Futures tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
He needed more than 80 stitches and spent three months in the hospital after undergoing surgery for a badly damaged leg.
Istomin resumed training in 2003 and won his first Challenger tournament two years later. He made his Grand Slam debut a year later at the Aussie Open, losing in straight sets to world No. 1 Roger Federer.
The 188cm, 78kg Ebden had just two aces and made seven double faults as he struggled mightily on his serve, winning just 45 percent of his second-serve points.
Ebden was born in Durban but attended high school in Perth, Australia. He is now a member of Australia's Davis Cup team.
His father was a top cricket and tennis player in South Africa and he has two sisters who were nationally ranked tennis players.