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ATP Tennis • Ricky’s Picks • Hewitt–YES, Lleyton Hewitt–Back On The Court In Estoril

Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt (L) and Alex de Minaur in action against South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and New Zealand’s Michael Venus, during their doubles first round match of the Estoril Open Tennis tournament in Cascais, near Lisbon, Portugal, 01 May 2018. EPA-EFE/JOSE SENA GOULAO



By Ricky Dimon


Lleyton Hewitt is back–again. And winning–again.


Hewitt, who last played singles at the 2016 Australian Open, is making another doubles comeback at the Estoril Open this week. The 37-year-old Aussie emerged from semi-retirement to play three doubles matches later in 2016 (two at Wimbledon) before skipping all of 2017 (aside from being a mainstay on tour thanks to his normal duties coaching current Australian players).


One of those up-and-coming stars is Alex de Minaur, with whom Hewitt is making his latest doubles partnership. The former world No. 1, who made a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals with countryman Sam Groth earlier this season, teamed up with de Minaur to upset No. 2 seeds Michael Venus and Raven Klaasen 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday. Hewitt and de Minaur fought off four of five break points and broke their opponents three times while getting the job done in one hour and six minutes.


“Even though I know Alex extremely well, this was our first time playing together,” Hewitt noted. “We’ve never even done that in practice. For me it was a thrill and for Alex it’s his first ATP doubles win. It was fun.”


“This was a dream come true,” de Minaur commented. “I’ve watched Lleyton play so much, but to be on the same side of the net is incredible. It’s insane how he hits the ball. I wanted to give a good level I was nervous at the start. I’m happy we got the win I’ll never forget this day.”


“I don’t know if I retired in doubles,” said Hewitt, who noted that he was “surprised” by his level at the Australian Open. “I know it means a lot to Alex playing with me this week. I really enjoy working with him.”


Next up for Team Hewitt-de Minaur on Thursday is Kyle Edmund (who beat de Minaur in singles) and Cameron Norrie.


Ricky’s picks for Thursday in Estoril, Munich, and Istanbul:


Hewitt/de Minaur over Edmund/Norrie in 2 – I’m not picking against Hewitt–certainly not when he is facing an inexperienced doubles team like Edmund and Norrie.


Tsitsipas over Anderson in 3 – This is Anderson’s first clay-court match of the season. Tsitsipas, of course, has already played–and won–many.


Carballes Baena over Norrie in 2 – Norrie’s Davis Cup upset of Bautista Agut notwithstanding, the Brit should get a free clay-court lesson from this in-form Spaniard.


Jarry over Ojeda Lara in 3 – Jarry was the breakout star of the Golden Swing and his stellar play on the slow stuff continued with a first-round defeat of Leonardo Mayer.


Carreno Busta over Kicker in 2 – Carreno Busta has been red hot (when healthy) dating back to Indian Wells. A return to clean health helped him reach the Barcelona semifinals.



Cecchinato over Fucsovics in 3 – Cecchinato won the Budapest and maintained momentum with a first-round upset of Fabio Fognini. Clay and current form make him a clear favorite.


Schwartzman over Marterer in 2 – Marterer is lucky to be in round two, having gotten a retirement from Dustin Brown at 5-6 in the first set. And this is a much tougher test.


Kohlschreiber over Zverev in 2 – This is by far Kohlschreiber’s best tournament (five finals and three titles). On clay, it won’t be competitive.


Bautista Agut over Ruud in 2 – A 250-point event against a much lower-ranked opponent is just what the doctor ordered for Bautista Agut.



Chardy over Lajovic in 3 – Chardy leads the head-to-head series 1-0 on clay (2-2 overall, including qualifying). The Frenchman heated up by reaching round four in Miami and he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili on Tuesday.


Dzumhur over Fabbiano in 3 – An upset is possible on clay, but Dzumhur leads the head-to-head series by a convincing 6-1.


Cilic over Jaziri in 2 – Cilic fared well in Monte-Carlo and he will be well-rested heading into this one after skipping Barcelona.


Monteiro over Vesely in 2 – Vesely is returning from injury and although he is decent on the red dirt, he would rather run into Monteiro on any other surface.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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