Hewitt and Tomic fly Aussie flag
Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic finalised their Australian Open preparations in the best possible way, each taking out lead-in tournaments over the weekend in front of a home crowd. While they might have different levels of experience, both players demonstrated they will be formidable opponents at Melbourne Park.
Hewitt was dwarfed by world number seven Juan Martin del Potro when the players took to the court to contest the final of the Kooyong Classic. However Hewitt proved it’s all about the size of the fight in the dog, when he brought his usual mongrel to the court in a convincing straight-sets win.
Hewitt defied his ranking of 81 and played some vintage tennis, taking out the final in a little over an hour, winning 6-1 6-4. Hewitt’s serve was on song, matched only by his strong return game, to which Argentina’s del Potro simply had no answers.
The 31-year-old broke serve at will, securing three breaks to close out the first set in just 27 minutes. He then broke early in the second set to jump to a 2-0 lead. While the Argentine mounted a brief comeback to get himself back in the set, Hewitt finished the stronger to close out the match.
It was only the second time Hewitt had contested the Kooyong Classic, the Aussie obviously taking a liking to surface after also taking out the title at the Adelaide event in 2011.
Hewitt will go into the year’s first grand slam brimming with confidence, where he will take on Janko Tipsarevic in round one, in what will be the veteran’s 17th appearance at the Australian Open.
Meanwhile Bernard Tomic continued his dramatic transformation and undefeated start to the year when he took out the Sydney International. Tomic beat South African Kevin Anderson in three sets, claiming his first APT title in the process.
The 20-year-old showed he has added a new powerful dimension to his game in the off-season, his speedy serve proving a highlight, which was not broken throughout the 6-4 6-7 6-3 victory at Olympic Park.
The breakthrough win sees Tomic’s world-ranking climb to 43, reclaiming the mantle as Australia’s highest ranked men’s player in the process. He is the ninth Australian winner of the Sydney event and first since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. Tomic also becomes the first 20-year-old to hoist the trophy since Roger Federer in 2002.
Tomic has now won eight consecutive matches to start 2013. He will aiming to continue this run when he begins his Australian Open campaign against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. An encounter with Roger Federer awaits if both players reach the third round.
Don’t forget you can catch all the Australia Open action at Strathfield Sports Club, where we will be showing all the Aussies in action as they attempt to win our home grand slam. And if you’re feeling inspired why not get a few friends together and have a hit on court. Simply make a booking by calling Strathfield Sports Club and we’ll help you with all your tennis needs.