Lleyton Hewitt scratched out a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3 victory over fellow Australian Matthew Ebden on Thursday night in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open to move within one of becoming the third player in ATP Tour history to win 600 matches.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the only players to reach the milestone. The 33-year-old Hewitt will face 17th-seeded Kevin Anderson in the second round.
"I've always been pretty successful," said Hewitt, who won his 29th career title this year by beating Federer in the final at Brisbane, Australia.
Hewitt won the 29th title of his career by beating Federer in the final at Brisbane, Australia, this year and said what has been most important to him in his 15-plus years on the tour is "that never-say-die attitude; hang in there and fight for every point."
He did that against Ebden, shaking off the loss of a 5-1 lead in the first set to win the final five points of a tiebreaker, after Ebden slipped and fell pursuing a ball, and finally holding serve to close the match after being up 5-1 in the final set.
In other matches, 35-year-old Michael Russell beat Donald Young for the fourth time in a row and fifth in six tries, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, and Tim Smyczek topped Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in another battle of American men.
In women's play, Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak routed Poland's Urszula Radwanska 6-2, 6-0, and Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic topped Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-4, 7-6 (2).