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Rejuvenated Hewitt kicks off 2010 with win

Last Updated: Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 09:20

Perth: Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt opened 2010 with a victory in the Hopman Cup on Saturday but the Australian has already set his sights on earning a place in the season-ending Masters Cup in London.

The 28-year-old, who climbed back from injury to finish 2009 ranked 22nd, defeated Victor Hanescu in the hosts` Hopman Cup match against Romania.
Australia eventually went down 2-1 to the Romanians, but Hewitt was delighted with his form as he recovered to clinch a gruelling victory.

After having hip surgery in 2008, Hewitt worked his way back up the rankings last year and arrived in Perth saying he felt "as fit as ever".

And the Australian believes that a place at London`s O2 as one of the world`s top eight is well within his capabilities -- providing he stays fit.

"This month, the Australian Open is the main goal, not getting the ranking up," Hewitt said.

"But obviously through the year I want to try to get in the top 10 and get in the Masters Cup."

The former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion has won only two titles in the past three years but believes he is still capable of winning at the top level, perhaps even in Melbourne later this month.
"I pride myself on playing the big tournaments well and last year over five sets it took the best guys to beat me again," he said.

"I lost a tight one to (Fernando) Gonzalez (in Australia), then Roddick, Nadal and Federer are the three who beat me. I feel like if I keep putting myself in those positions, then things will turn around."

Hewitt hoped his seeding at the Australian Open would deliver a kinder draw.

"I`ll be seeded so hopefully I will get a smooth passage through," he added. "If I can get myself through the first week, then there is no question I can do some serious damage."

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 09:20

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