Tennis: Hewitt grinds down debutant Federer to claim Brisbane title

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia (right) poses with Roger Federer of Switzerland after the trophy presentation for the men's singles final match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, January 5, 2014. Hewitt delig
Lleyton Hewitt of Australia (right) poses with Roger Federer of Switzerland after the trophy presentation for the men's singles final match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, January 5, 2014. Hewitt delighted his home fans when he battled to a typically gutsy 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Swiss top seed Federer in the Brisbane International tennis final on Sunday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BRISBANE (REUTERS) - Australia's Lleyton Hewitt delighted his home fans when he battled to a typically gutsy 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Swiss top seed Roger Federer in the Brisbane International tennis final on Sunday.

Federer, who led Hewitt 18-8 in meetings between the former world No.1s and fellow 32-year-olds going into the contest, committed 22 unforced errors on his way to being broken three times in the first set after reaching the final without dropping serve once.

The world No.6 improved markedly in the second set but a failure to convert seven break opportunities in the third proved costly, as the 60th-ranked Australian held on for victory in two hours and seven minutes.

The victory secured Hewitt's first ATP title since Halle in 2010 when he also beat Federer in the final, ending a 15-match losing run against his opponent.

The match was Federer's last competitive outing before the Australian Open begins on Jan 13, where the Swiss will be seeking to add to his record 17 Grand Slam titles with a fifth Melbourne crown.

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