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Hewitt, Melzer, Robredo Advance; Dimitrov Sets Raonic Clash

Brisbane, Australia

Robredo© Getty ImagesTommy Robredo knocked out American qualifier Ryan Harrison in the first round.

Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt began his 16th season on the ATP World Tour with a battling 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Russian lucky loser Igor Kunitsyn on Tuesday evening at the Brisbane International. The 31-year-old Australian broke serve four times as he made his debut in Brisbane with victory in just over two hours.

"It was pretty high quality tennis actually for the whole two hours, three tough sets," said 2005 Australian Open runner-up Hewitt. "It was a good start to the tournament for me. I didn't really play too many bad points the whole match. 

"He came out there with the attitude he had nothing to lose, which a lot of lucky losers do, and that makes it awkward playing those guys. But I kept my concentration. I stuck it out," said Hewitt, who had expected to play Radek Stepanek before the 2009 Brisbane champion was forced to withdraw due to an eye infection.

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Seventh seed Jurgen Melzer overcame a slow start to defeat American qualifier Denis Kudla 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. The Austrian won just three points more than his opponent and lost serve three times in the one-hour, 46-minute contest.

The 31-year-old Melzer goes onto face upcoming Belgian David Goffin, who dismissed home hope Matthew Ebden 6-2, 6-2 in just 55 minutes. Goffin, who made a surprise fourth-round appearance at Roland Garros as a qualifier last year, broke serve four times and dropped only 10 points on serve.

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Spain’s former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo made a winning start as he defeated American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 35 minutes. The 30 year old is looking to make a comeback on the ATP World Tour after reaching the final of four ATP Challenger Tour events last year in a bid to rediscover his form and ranking after injury. He earned a clash with fifth seed Kei Nishikori.

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov will face second seed Milos Raonic in the second round after defeating American Brian Baker 6-3, 7-6(8) in 82 minutes. The 21-year-old Dimitrov and 22-year-old Raonic have squared off once before, with Canadian Raonic prevailing in straight sets in Stockholm in 2011.

Denis Istomin dismissed eighth seed Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-2. Meeting for the first time, Istomin won 84 percent of his first serve points and broke the Slovakian four times. The Uzbek sealed the upset win in 70 minutes against the 2012 ATP Newcomer of the Year. Istomin reached the quarter-finals of this ATP World Tour 250 hard-court event in 2012 (l. to Tomic). He is seeking to lift his first tour-level trophy this week. The 43rd-ranked Istomin next faces wild card Hewitt.

Hometown qualifier John Millman recorded his first ATP World Tour match win after easing past Tatsuma Ito 6-4, 6-1. Millman capitalised on four of his seven break points to set a second-round clash with top seed and defending champion Andy Murray.

Alejandro Falla also won his first-round match, defeating qualifier Jesse Levine 6-1, 7-6(8). Falla advances to play No. 3 seed Gilles Simon.

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