Lleyton Hewitt pulled off an upset 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Roger Federer to win the Brisbane International yesterday.
The Australian made Federer pay for what was an unusually sloppy performance, with the Swiss committing 22 unforced errors in the first set alone, as he won the 29th ATP title of his career.
Hewitt took the first set in just 27 minutes thanks largely to Federer’s consistent errors, before the 17-time grand slam champion showed his class in the second.
Despite missing the chance to go up a break midway through the set, Federer did not let Hewitt off the hook when a second opportunity presented itself after the home favourite missed an easy forehand winner in the ninth game.
Had Hewitt made the shot, he would have gone up 5-4 in the set, but instead Federer broke the Australian and then served out to love, levelling the match at one set apiece and setting up a grandstand finish.
Hewitt produced a typically committed performance in the deciding set, saving four break points to hold his serve before breaking Federer to go up 3-1.
The 32-year-old then kept his composure for the rest of the set to serve it out and ensure he lifted his seventh title on Australian soil.
In India, Stanislas Wawrinka warmed up for the Australian Open by lifting the Aircel Chennai Open with a comfortable win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the final.
Wawrinka, who will be one of the favourites to upset the established order when the first major of the year gets under way a week today in Melbourne, came through 7-5, 6-2 yesterday.The two could not be separated in the early stages although top seed Wawrinka made the all-important break in the 11th game of the first set.
That was the start of a five-game winning run for the Swiss, who went on to seal victory over the Frenchman after 95 minutes for his fifth career title – and his second at this venue.
Wawrinka, who also won this competition in 2011, said afterwards: “I need to keep practising and keep going for the rest of the year because it’s only one week. I need to keep pushing myself to try to improve.”
Seventh seed Simona Halep crashed out in the first round of the Apia International in Sydney, the Romanian going down 6-1, 6-4 to American Madison Keys.
Sara Errani, the Italian third seed, had no such problems as she swept aside her compatriot Roberto Vinci 6-4, 6-2.