Hewitt advances in Miami
UPDATE: Lleyton Hewitt has advanced to the second round of the Sony Open in Miami, yet compatriot Marinko Matosevic was unable to join him in the last 64.
Lleyton Hewitt is savouring his first win at Miami’s prestigious Sony Open in four injury-plagued years.
Hewitt advanced to the second round of the so-called “fifth major” with a 6-1 7-6(3) victory over Joao Sousa of Portugal on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old wildcard next plays 11th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon, but fellow Australian Marinko Matosevic is out after falling in three sets to Israeli Dudi Sela.
Matosevic lost 6-2 1-6 6-4.
Bernard Tomic plays Frenchman Marc Gicquel for the right to take on British second seed Andy Murray in the second round, while Sam Stosur has pulled out of the women’s event with a calf injury.
For Hewitt, it was another chance to prove that despite multiple injuries and potential career-ending surgeries, he’s not quite ready to call it quits.
His latest victory came just over a week after the former world No.1 scored a confidence-building win against top-25 player John Isner at Indian Wells.
“The last surgery I had, if I didn’t have it done, I would have had to retire anyway,” said Hewitt, who has endured hip and foot procedures over the course of the past three years.
“People still thought I wouldn’t be able to come back and play tennis anyway. I did all the rehab and everything that I possibly could.
“And for me, if you miss it when you are doing rehab and getting back, then you obviously know your motivation is still there.”
Hewitt, who powered 11 aces on Wednesday, showed he is still driven.
After a 38-minute first set, he fought off a stubborn Sousa, who was faced with elimination twice but played aggressively when down.
“I watched a little bit of footage of him at the Australian Open this year. But apart from that, I didn’t really know how he played,” said Hewitt.
“He played way better every time he was behind in the match.
“Whenever he’d get back on serve in the second set, he actually played worse. When he was behind, he sort of just went for it.”