Tomic, Hewitt give locals hope, Ferrer equals record

Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:51am EST
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(Reuters) - Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt gave local fans some excitement before the Australian Open with victories in warm-up tournaments on Saturday while David Ferrer entered the record books.

Smarting from the poor form of women's world number nine Samantha Stosur, who lost first round matches in Brisbane and Sydney, and the lack of top-class local talent in the men's draw, Australian fans seemed resigned to another home grand slam without a standard bearer to cheer on deep into the second week.

On Saturday, however, Tomic captured his first ATP Tour title when he beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-3 6-7 6-3 in the Sydney International.

"It's a great honor to win my first title here," said Tomic, still at loggerheads with Australia's Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter over perceived attitude problems.

"It's been a long time coming but I've finally got one of these trophies."

Hewitt turned back the clock to thump Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 6-4 and win the Kooyong Classic.

The 31-year-old Hewitt, who has been troubled with foot, toe, hip and hand injuries in recent years, also beat Canada's Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at the eight-man invitational tournament.

The 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion, who moved the big Argentine around the court with ease, sealed his second Kooyong title when he ran around a del Potro serve and blasted a forehand winner across court to raucous applause.

"I felt like every match I got better and better and more confident," Hewitt told reporters. "Especially my ball-striking, I felt it was really coming out of the middle of the racquet from the word go.   Continued...

Bernard Tomic of Australia celebrates defeating Kevin Anderson of South Africa during their men's final match at the Sydney International tennis tournament January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz