NEWPORT, Rhode Island - Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt has defeated second seed Ivo Karlovic 6-3 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/3) to win the ATP Hall of Fame Championships.
After runner-up finishes the past two years, Hewitt finally captured the Hall of Fame title on Sunday, although it took two-and-a-half hours after the Australian faltered while serving for the match in the second set and squandered two match points on Karlovic's serve.
Third seed Hewitt won in windy conditions for his 30th career ATP title, his second of the season after a January crown at Brisbane, and an eighth career ATP grass-court championship.
It was a breakthough triumph for Hewitt after falling to US star John Isner in the 2012 Newport final and to Frenchman Nicolas Mahut last year.
"It was obviously very tough the last couple of years," Hewitt said.
"Last year I served for it as well. That just makes it more gratifying."
Hewitt has undergone five surgeries in five years to continue his career.
"We've had some tough times with surgeries the last few years," Hewitt said.
"But it's nice to know that all that hard work has paid off."
Karlovic, 35, and Hewitt, 33, met in the oldest ATP final showdown so far this season and the oldest since the event was first staged in 1976.