Hewitt leads Australia to win over Italy

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/specialhewitt.jpg' class='caption'> Alicia Molik and Lleyton Hewitt win their opening singles matches to give Australia a winning 2-0 lead over Italy at the Hopman Cup team tennis tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Alicia Molik and Lleyton Hewitt won their opening singles matches Sunday to give Australia a 3-0 win over Italy at the Hopman Cup team tennis tournament. The world top-ranked Hewitt beat Davide Sanguinetti 6-3, 6-1 after Molik's 6-3, 6-4 victory over Silvia Farina Elia. The Australians won the mixed doubles in a walkover when Sanguinetti could not play due to an ankle injury suffered during his match with Hewitt. Hewitt quickly took control, breaking Sanguinetti's opening service game and leading 4-1 before the Italian came back into the match. At 4-3 down but 40-15 up on serve, Sanguinetti pulled up sore on his right ankle and received treatment off the court. He returned but Hewitt broke him and then served out the first set in 37 minutes. In the second set, Hewitt appeared headed for an early finish with two breakpoint opportunities in the opening game, but a power failure knocked out use of the court lights. Play was suspended for just under one hour, but when the players returned, Hewitt cruised to victory in 24 minutes. Hewitt said the power outage helped him solve problems with his racket strings. "I couldn't hit a ball, it felt like I couldn't crack an egg out there,'' Hewitt said. "The stringer put in his own string pattern which I had never seen before - and he's got some funky ideas. I came out after the light delay and actually had the right ones done.'' Hewitt said it was an awkward match after Sanguinetti turned his ankle. "I wasn't sure how bad it was, there were points where he was running his butt off and there was times when I hit drop shots he didn't run for,'' he said. "It is tough in that situation to put an opponent away.'' Group A play begins Monday with Belgium taking on Spain and the United States, represented by James Blake and Serena Williams, playing Uzbekistan. The winners of each group meet next Saturday in the final. (AP)

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