The last time Lleyton Hewitt played the Stockholm Open he was aged 21 and the world’s No.1 ranked tennis player.
Returning to the Swedish tournament for the first time since that 2002 debut, 31-year-old wildcard entry Hewitt pulled off a handy first round win over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson that could help lift him back into the world top 100.
Ranked 102, the Australian veteran showed his experience on the big points to beat No.38 Anderson 6-4 4-6 6-4 and set up a second round clash with eighth seed Jarkko Nieminen, who he has a 4-0 record against.
Hewitt struggled on his own serve, facing 12 break points but he held off all but two of them, while breaking Anderson’s serve three times.
Local hope Patrik Rosenholm pulled off the upset of the day by defeating defending champion Gael Monfils 6-3 1-6 6-3.
The Frenchman appeared to be held back by a knee problem that sidelined him for several months this year as he dropped the last set to the Swede, ranked 436th in the world.
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus was down 3-1 in the first set but rallied to beat David Goffin of Belgium 6-4 6-2, and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez hit 26 aces as he defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (7-4) 6-2.