Melbourne, Australia, 9 January 2013 | AAP

Lleyton Hewitt defied the rankings by beating young Canadian star Milos Raonic at the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday, a confidence-boosting win ahead of next week’s Australian Open.

Preparing for his 17th Open campaign, world No.83 Hewitt, who won the Classic two years ago, defeated the big-serving world No.15 in three sets 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-4) on the opening day of the eight-man exhibition event.

Earlier former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, also in three sets.