Hewitt, Arthurs through at Masters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hewitt, Arthurs through at Masters

21/04/2004 05:24:58 AM Comments (0)

Wayne Arthurs has beaten France's Thierry Ascione in the first round of the $A4 million Monte Carlo Masters clay court tennis tournament.

The big serving Australian knocked out Ascoine in straight sets 7-6 (7/5) 6-4.

Arthurs, having failed to qualify for the competition, was only invited to compete when American Andy Roddick withdrew.

Earlier Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt recovered from a sticky start to overcome Frenchman Julien Benneteau 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the $US2.91 million ($A3.91 million) Monte Carlo Masters.

Former US Open winner Marat Safin also suffered before overcoming Olivier Rochus 4-6 6-3 6-3 just two days after losing the Estoril Open final in Portugal.

Struggling with his serve and some unusual sloppiness, Hewitt made 32 unforced errors and landed only 48 per cent of first serves. The Australian scored just one ace on his least favourite surface.

But the two-time Grand Slam winner found his range to race 5-0 ahead in the second set and withstood a strong, if somewhat erratic, fightback from Benneteau to reach the second round for the first time.

"I got better as the match went on," said Hewitt. "I didn't have my footing at the start and was maybe being a bit too aggressive."

Hewitt was a first-round loser to Carlos Moya in 2002 - his only other Monte Carlo appearance. In the second round, he faces Gaston Gaudio.

Although not a clay-court specialist, 23-year-old Hewitt counts a 2001 French Open quarterfinal and a 2000 semifinal at the Rome Masters among his better showings.

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