Lleyton turns back the clock
25 June 2013
TENNIS: Lleyton Hewitt made a scintillating start to his 15th consecutive Wimbledon campaign with a straight-sets upset win over Swiss 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka on Monday.
The 32-year-old Australian, a 2002 champion at the All England Club, rolled back the years to reach the second round with a 6-4 7-5 6-3 victory.
It was the only Australian victory in singles on the opening day after Marinko Matosevic and Matt Reid lost their first-round matches.
World No.70 Hewitt will next face German Dustin Brown, who defeated Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 6-3 6-3.
And he'll be eyeing off a run deep into the draw, particularly after potential fourth-round opponent Rafael Nadal suffered a shock loss to Steve Darcis just moments earlier on Court One.
Buoyed be his surprise run to the Queen's Club semi-finals, Hewitt said he didn't feel like the underdog against Wawrinka, who'd been defeated by the eventual champions in both of this year's grand slams so far.
And he didn't look it either as he blew his opponent off the court in the early stages.
Hewitt had spent the week in training while Wawrinka arrived in London only a day before the tournament after reaching the final at 's-Hertogenbosch on Saturday.
And the Australian looked the sharper player as he raced to a 4-0 lead.
Wawrinka battled back but Hewitt held on to serve it out on his fourth set point when up 5-4.
It was Hewitt's turn to stage a fightback in the second set, coming back from a break down early to take a two-sets-to-love lead.
Wawrinka's frustration was on show as he received a warning for tossing his racquet into the ground, and Hewitt didn't let up in the third set.
He broke serve in the first game and fought hard to hold his serve against a desperate Wawrinka, winning an epic game to go up 4-2.
In fading light, Hewitt converted his fourth match point on Wawrinka's serve, dropping to his knees and pumping his fists in an animated celebration in front of a crowd featuring a vocal Australian contingent.
"People ask me when I'm going to retire. Why would I retire when I can play in an atmosphere like that?," Hewitt said after the match.
"It was a great adrenaline rush."
Earlier, Matosevic's grand slum duck extended to 10 matches with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-3 loss to Frenchman Guillaume Rufin.
The 27-year-old's record in grand slams is the equal worst of any active player, matched only by Italian Paolo Lorenzi who also lost his 10th match from as many attempts on Monday.
"It's pretty shattering right now. I don't know what I'm going to do," Matosevic said.
Qualifier Reid, 22, was far from disgraced in 6-2 6-2 6-4 loss to Czech veteran Radek Stepanek and said he would benefit from his grand slam debut.
"It was like anything I did he just came up with something better," Reid said.
Samantha Stosur, Bernard Tomic, Matthew Ebden and James Duckworth open their campaigns on Tuesday.