Lleyton Hewitt has won his only match against Milos Raonic. Image courtesy of yahoo.com/Paul Kane/Getty Images
After choosing to start his Australian Open preparation in Brisbane for the first time, Lleyton Hewitt is in need of match practice after he was bundled out in the second round. He’ll get that at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne starting Wednesday with a solid field lined up to contest the round robin tournament.
First up for Hewitt is big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic . The 22-year-old was strongly favoured to beat the South Australian at the first slam of the year in 2012 when they faced off in the third round, but Hewitt showed his renowned fighting spirit to come from a set down to win in four. Raonic cracked 23 aces in that match, but Hewitt was able to win the big points converting three of just five break point opportunities throughout the encounter.
Despite still having one of the best return of serves in tennis, Hewitt was unable to come to grips with the bullets sent down by Uzbek Denis Istomin in Brisbane last week. Istomin won 82 per cent of points on his first serve, and if Raonic wins a similar percentage, then his opponent will be well and truly on the back-foot.
The Canuck lost his first match in Brisbane to giant Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the second round 6-3 6-4. Dimitrov showed why he’s one of the most promising players in the game, though, reaching his first ATP final at Pat Rafter Arena before he was humbled in straight sets by Andy Murray in the final. Dimitrov won every single point on his first serve in their contest, but Raonic will find things decidedly easier against Hewitt’s first ball. He had a 23-8 record on hardcourt last campaign, with the scalps of Murray and Tomas Berdych among those wins.
Hewitt won this tournament back in 2011, beating Gael Monfils in the final in straight sets . He’s trying to make it a hat-trick of wins for Australians after Bernard Tomic’s triumph last year.
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