Melbourne - Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic dug deep
to dump Australian warhorse Lleyton Hewitt out in the first round of the
Australian Open on Monday.
Eighth-seeded Tipsarevic out-fought
the tenacious Hewitt 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 6-3 in just over three hours to
advance in the year-opening Grand Slam.
Hewitt, ranked 81 and
playing in a record 17th consecutive Australian Open, fought to the
bitter end but Tipsarevic unleashed a flurry of winners to seal the
Tipsarevic, who dreaded the prospect of playing crowd
hero Hewitt at night on the opening day of the tournament, came through
The Serb reeled off 47 winners, some that brought
gasps from the pro-Hewitt crowd, and made 38 unforced errors, while
never-say-die Hewitt conceded more errors than winners, 48-40.
who has never got beyond the third round in eight attempts in
Melbourne, will next play Slovakia's Lukas Lacko in the second round,
while Hewitt contemplates whether to come back for an 18th tilt at the
age of 32.
Former US Open and Wimbledon champion Hewitt lost the
opening set in a tiebreaker but was up a break at 5-3 in the second set
before Tipsarevic clawed his way back to break twice and take a two sets
to love lead.
Tipsarevic looked to be steaming towards victory
with a 3-0 lead in the third set only for Hewitt to break back to get
the crowd roaring him on. But the Serb broke again in the seventh game
and served out for the match.