Lleyton Hewitt suffers early exit in Sydney
Lleyton Hewitt's Australian Open preparations suffered a major setback after the former world No.1 was dumped out of the Sydney International.
Hewitt, who has slipped to 182 in the world rankings after a series of injuries, has not played since September, and will now head to Melbourne, where he has been awarded a wildcard for the first grand slam of the year, with just one match under his belt.
Hewitt delighted his home fans when he won the opening set against fifth seed Viktor Troicki, but was unable to maintain his charge as he fell to a 4-6 6-3 6-2 defeat.
After a slow start, Hewitt clawed his way back into the match after Troicki raced to a 4-1 lead, but the Australian won five games on the bounce to take the opening set. The former Wimbledon champion grabbed an early break in the second set, but Troicki's superior fitness prevailed as he battled back to claim the victory against the four-time Sydney champion.
Former Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis, who played doubles with Andy Murray in Brisbane last week, saw off Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 6-4, while eighth seed Radek Stepanek got the better of Xavier Malisse with a 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 win.
Also through to the last 16 are Alex Bogomolov Jr, Italian Fabio Fognini and Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
Meanwhile, at the Heineken Open in Auckland, Sam Querrey was beaten by fellow American Ryan Harrison, fifth seed Kevin Anderson was ousted by Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and Philipp Kohlschreiber needed three sets to beat world No. 218 Stephane Bohli.