Former champion Hewitt outlasted by Frenchman Mathieu

New York: Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt suffered his earliest ever exit from the US Open when he was edged out 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 by Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round on Monday.

The Australian, champion at Flushing Meadows in 2001 and seeded 32nd, showed typical grit to fight back from two sets down but Mathieu gathered himself to win the decider and clinch victory after three hours 39 minutes.

Hewitt, who had a second bout of hip surgery in January, looked down and out when Mathieu won the first two sets with a sparkling array of winners but the Australian hit back as the Frenchman`s nerve faltered.

But Mathieu, who has dropped from a career-high ranking of 12 to 109 after a series of injuries, broke serve three times in the fifth set to clinch a dramatic victory.

Bureau Report

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