Hewitt into winning groove at Hopman Cup

Retiring veteran Lleyton Hewitt has rediscovered his winning mojo to further bolster his preparations for his Australian Open swansong.

Hewitt helped lift Australia Gold to a 3-0 Hopman Cup tie win over the US on Tuesday night with a 7-5 6-4 win over world No.26 Jack Sock.

It came just two days after he put up a good fight in a 6-3 6-7(7-1) 6-4 loss to world No.41 Jiri Vesely.

Hewitt will retire after this month’s Australian Open.

And he’s on track to go out with a bang.

“I said I was going to be better from that first match,” Hewitt said after his singles win over Sock.

“I felt like the second and third sets (of that first match) I was starting to get the feel of the tempo of playing against these big guys again.

“The first two matches I’ve played pretty big servers – one lefty, one righty. I felt like for the most part I handled it pretty well (against Sock).

“Jack’s a tough player. A massive forehand, big serve. He slices pretty well.

“I felt like I had to try to keep enough balls in, but I couldn’t go too defensive and let him dictate.

“I felt like I stepped it up from two nights ago.”

While Hewitt’s Australian Open preparations are building nicely, the same can’t be said for world No.1 Serena Williams, who retired from her singles match against Jarmila Wolfe because of an ongoing knee issue.

Williams, who failed to play in Monday’s 2-1 loss to Ukraine, trailed Wolfe 7-5 2-1 before calling it quits.

The 21-time grand slam champion revealed inflammation in her left knee was yet to subside fully, but she remains confident it won’t derail her bid to win a seventh Australian Open crown.

Williams hasn’t officially pulled out of the Hopman Cup just yet, but her odds of appearing against the Czech Republic on Thursday night appear slim.

“I just have some inflammation that’s been going away very slowly,” Williams said on Tuesday night.

“It’s going away, but just needs a little more time.

“I was afraid to move, and I need to get in that space where I am not afraid and then I will be able to move better.

“I’ve been training really hard during the off-season. Really pushing myself beyond the limits. I just think a day off or two will make a world of difference.”

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