Hewitt’s Australian Open reward
Lleyton Hewitt has almost certainly clinched direct entry to the Australian Open despite his Stockholm Open ending in the quarter-finals.
Spanish third seed Nicolas Almagro eliminated Hewitt 6-1 6-4 in 66 minutes to boost his own hopes of qualifying for the end-of-season World Tour Finals in London.
Hewitt, though, is set to climb into the world’s top 80 on Monday following his run to the last eight.
With only a handful of events to go this year, the former No.1 is unlikely to slip out of the top 100, meaning he won’t require a wildcard for the Melbourne Park major in January.
Hewitt received wildcards into all four grand slam events in 2012, with a last-16 charge in Melbourne his best result in the big ones.
The 12th-ranked Almagro will next face Czech second seed Tomas Berdych, who defeated Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in his quarter-final.
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the 2009 champion, edged Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) and will play French top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who downed Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3 6-4.© AAP 2013
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