Lleyton Hewitt has given the green-and-gold something to smile about at the London 2012 Olympic tennis event, recording a three-set victory over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakovsky.
The 6-3 4-6 6-3 win sets up a second round showdown with 13th seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, who defeated Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in straight sets.
Hewitt used his grasscourt smarts to successfully navigate his way past the Ukrainian, who relentlessly attacked throughout the match.
Stahkovsky rushed the net 40 times – almost twice as many times as Hewitt – as well as smacking 11 aces and 27 winners.
Yet he played erratically, with those impressive stats countered by 37 errors and a conversion rate of just 55 per cent at net.
Hewitt was typically economic, with 23 winners over just 15 errors.
He pressured Stakhovsky with his trademark returns and was rewarded, breaking serve twice in the opening set to take the early advantage.
Shrugging off the loss of the second set, Hewitt was back to his best in the third, superior on serve and managing another break of Stakhovsky’s serve to complete victory in one hour and 44 minutes.
Next comes Cilic, the world No.14 who has enjoyed solid results on grass this season, including a win at Queen’s Club and a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Hewitt and Cilic have never before met.
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