Hewitt storms into Sydney quarters

Lleyton Hewitt spectacularly launched his bid for a fifth Sydney International title with the loss of just two games in his opening match of the tournament on W

Updated: January 13, 2010 10:02 IST
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Sydney:Lleyton Hewitt spectacularly launched his bid for a fifth Sydney International title with the loss of just two games in his opening match of the tournament on Wednesday.

The Australian two-time Grand Slam champion rattled past Italian Andreas Seppi 6-0, 6-2 in just under an hour to set up an enticing quarter-final with Marcos Baghdatis on Thursday.

The fourth seed, who claimed the title here in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005, raced out of the blocks, clinching the first set in just 21 minutes and going on with the job despite an early service break in the final set.

Hewitt, who had a first-round bye, will now take on Baghdatis for the first time since their epic third round encounter at the 2008 Australian Open, which started just before midnight and ran for four hours 43 minutes.

Hewitt prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (7/4), 6-3 but was a spent force for his next match against eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

"Hopefully, it never happens again to anyone," Hewitt said of his last meeting with the 2006 Australian Open finalist Baghdatis.

"I would have wanted to wipe it out of my memory box if I'd lost the match in five sets.

"But obviously winning an epic match in your home Grand Slam, yeah, stuff like that always stays in the back of your mind."

Hewitt, fighting his way back up the rankings to a current 22 after hip surgery in August 2008, has a healthy respect for the Cypriot crowd-pleaser.

"He's always a class player," Hewitt said. "He's a great ball striker and moves well from the back of the court. He's had a couple wins this week."

Hewitt, who played in last week's Hopman Cup mixed teams event in Perth, effortlessly adjusted to the different playing conditions against Seppi.

"This was my first match outdoors for the year, so it was a tough match in terms of the conditions and getting used to that coming from indoors at the Hopman Cup. I handled the conditions well," he said.

Baghdatis progressed with a 7-5, 6-3 win over sixth seeded Serb Viktor Troicki.

"It's another level obviously," Baghdatis said. "He's the favourite. He's playing good and he's playing at home. So I'll just go out there and try to find a solution to win."

Czech second seed Tomas Berdych had an ignominous second round exit to Australian Peter Luczak, who finished strongly for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.

Davis Cup member Luzcak will have a night quarter-final with American Mardy Fish, who easily put paid to Russian Evgeny Korolev, 6-1, 6-2

Frenchmen Richard Gasquet won his second match of the tournament after knocking out German eighth seed Benjamin Becker 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) and will face Italian Potito Starace for a place in the semi-finals.

Another Frenchman Julien Benneteau accounted for American 'lucky loser' Taylor Dent, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), with Dent coming into the draw for injured third seed, Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Benneteau will take on Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in the quarters after Mayer's 6-4, 6-2 win over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

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