Lleyton Hewitt has kicked off his final American hardcourt campaign with a first-round victory over a fellow Australian at the Washington Open.
The 34-year-old Hewitt, who will retire after next year’s Australian Open, had little trouble in accounting for John-Patrick Smith 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday in the US capital.
Another Aussie, Sam Groth, also won through to the second round with a three-set upset over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 (10-8) 4-6 6-3.
Hewitt, who is playing in Washington as a wildcard entry as his ranking has slid to world No.163, is building towards his last appearance at the US Open which starts at the end of the month.
His triumph over world No.133 Smith was only his third win in singles this season in 10 matches.
Hewitt next faces Serbian Viktor Troicki while Groth will battle Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who had a first-round bye.
Later on Tuesday, Australian James Duckworth takes on Japan’s world No.5 Kei Nishikori.