Benneteau stuns Hewitt in Las Vegas

Lleyton Hewitt's luck ran out in Las Vegas, as the Australian crashed out of the 436,000-dollar ATP tournament at the hands of Julien Benneteau.

updated: March 06, 2008 07:47 IST
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Las Vegas:

Lleyton Hewitt's luck ran out in Las Vegas on Wednesday, as the second-seeded Australian crashed out of the 436,000-dollar ATP tournament here at the hands of France's Julien Benneteau.

Benneteau shocked the defending champion 6-3, 7-5 to book a quarter-final berth against American Sam Querrey.

Hewitt, 27, has dominated here in recent years. He won the title in 2000 and 2003 as well as last year, and had reached the final in five of his six appearances, including the past two years.

But Benneteau brought that run of success to a screeching halt. He broke Hewitt five times to hand him just his fourth defeat in his last 31 matches here.

Hewitt, ranked 24th in the world, had cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over erratic Russian Marat Safin in the first round.

However, his serve let him down against Benneteau, who is in search of his first career ATP singles title and improved to 6-4 this season.

Benneteau broke Hewitt twice en route to taking the first set and broke him twice again to lead 5-3 in the second.

Hewitt, showing a flash of the form that has earned him 26 career titles, held serve then regained a break as Benneteau double-faulted to even the second set at 5-5.

Benneteau, however, broke back and served out the match in 1hr 45min.

The Frenchman's next opponent, unseeded Querrey, needed only 58 minutes to oust eighth-seeded German Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-1.

Querrey reached the quarter-finals for the second straight year.

Fourth-seeded Argentinian Guillermo Canas reached the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Australian qualifier Chris Guccione.

Canas broke Guccione four times to advance to his first quarter-final since Metz last October. The 20th-ranked Canas is playing just his second tournament of 2008 after battling tendinitis in his left wrist.

"Always when you play with these tough players or big-serve players, always it's dangerous," Canas said. "But I feel very confident in my game - I'm returning very well, I'm moving very well. It was great and I'm very happy."

Canas next faces American qualifier Amer Delic, who advanced when fifth seed Potito Starace of Italy retired with a back injury while trailing 6-3, 3-0.

Delic also had won his only previous meeting with Starace - a five-set triumph in the first round of the 2006 Australian Open.

Top-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile headlines Thursday's second-round action, taking on Russian Evgeny Korolev.