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Hewitt, Groth Open doubles run continues

Veterans Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt have breezed into the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, continuing their men’s doubles farewell tour with a first-set walkover.

The local duo only spent 22 minutes on court against all-Spanish pair Pablo Andujar and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who retired at 3-all with Ramos-Vinolas unable to continue with a wrist injury.

The 30-year-old Spaniard had earlier been run ragged on Saturday night, falling to 12-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes.

Despite barely raising a sweat, the 36-year-old Hewitt said he and Groth wouldn’t need to hit the practice courts to make up the shortfall in match time.

“Probably not,” he said.

“We’re getting old. We hit enough balls last night.”

Hewitt retired from competitive tennis after his final Australian Open singles campaign in 2016, although the former world No.1 returned to play doubles that year at the Davis Cup and Wimbledon.

Groth, who revived his partnership with Hewitt for one last doubles campaign after bowing out in Open singles qualifying, backed up his Davis Cup captain.

“I said after I lost in qualifiers I’d never serve a singles point again,” the 2015 Newcombe Medal winner joked.

Hewitt and Groth can extend their fairytale run into the final four with a win over No.11 seeds Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Groth can also lock in a mixed doubles quarter-final spot with Queenslander Samantha Stosur on Monday if they can squash highly-rated third seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares.

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