Hewitt gets started in Sydney with fighting win

January 13th, 2009 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Serena WilliamsSydney, Jan 13 (DPA) Women’s seeds stormed through into the quarter-finals as Lleyton Hewitt made a typical fighting debut Tuesday at the Medibank International tennis.The four-time champion, who is playing only his second event since hip surgery in August, had to spend two hours in baking summer heat to overcome Julien Benneteau 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

The unseeded Australian, trying to lift a ranking which has fallen to 71st, fell behind 1-4 in the first set, which Benneteau won. But Hewitt scrambled back into contention to earn the hard-fought win, through 13 winners and seven aces.

“It was a tough match, I’m happy to get through in the week before the Australian Open,” said the Aussie.

“I lost to him in our only other match. But I’ve had so much success in Sydney and it’s nice to be back. I’m not yet on autopilot with the hip, but the more matches I play the better it will get for Melbourne.”

Women’s seeds led by Serena Williams all rolled in straight sets, with the world number two American defeating Italy’s Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2.

“It was a better match than the first round,” said Williams, who had to save four match points against Australian Samantha Stosur in that match to win. “I’m starting to pick up my game.”

Second seed Dinara Safina led fellow Russian Elena Dementieva into the last eight, beating compatriot Vera Dushevina 6-3, 6-0.

Dementieva, the Olympic champion who has achieved only one semi-final in 13 Australian appearances, stopped Slovak Jarmila Gajdosova 6-2, 6-4.

Poland’s sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska put out Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 7-5 while Danish number eight Caroline Wozniacki defeated Briton Melanie South 6-2, 6-0.

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