Hewitt, Philippoussis target Eddo's mark - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hewitt, Philippoussis target Eddo's mark

By Chris Lines 20/01/2004 05:40:49 AM Comments (0)

The heat will descend at the Australian Open today when Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt kick off their campaign to end the local drought in this season-opening grand slam tournament.

Temperatures were set to soar into the high 30s, with officials getting an early chance to implement the extreme heat policy that allows for delays of matches on the sweltering outside courts.

With the option of closing the roof, there will be no delays on Rod Laver Arena where the two leading Australians will feature.

Hewitt will take on American qualifier Cecil Mamiit, with the South Australian entering this tournament fresh and in blistering form following a reduced program in the second half of 2003.

Philippoussis will play the night session, in a challenging first round encounter against 2002 Open champion Thomas Johansson, who was on the comeback trail from a bad knee injury last year.

Hewitt and Philippoussis are under pressure to end the 28-year reign of Mark Edmondson as the last Australian to win the Australian Open men's title.

Two men that may well stymie that bid are No.2 seed Roger Federer and No.3 seed Juan-Carlos Ferrero, who were both eager to erase memories of their most recent visits to this venue when they lost five setters in the Davis Cup semi-final and final respectively.

Federer will today meet American qualifier Alex Bogomolov junior first up on Rod Laver Arena while Ferrero meets Spanish compatriot Albert Montanes.

In the women's section, a below-fit Kim Clijsters will make her return to action after injuring an ankle in the Hopman Cup.

She meets danger woman Marlene Weingartner, who knocked out defending champion Jennifer Capriati in the opening round last year.

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