Hewitt falls to towering KarlovicComment on this story
London - Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt fell victim to 22 service aces from towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic in a 6-3, 6-2 first-round loss for the veteran wild card on Tuesday at the Queen's club.
“It was frustrating, to say the least,” said 2002 Wimbledon champion Hewitt. “I felt like I was actually seeing the ball not bad out there, especially the returns that I could get my racquet on.
“The pressure just builds on your service games, and he's just lashing at shots left, right, and centre. I didn't serve my best, him serving like that puts a lot more pressure on you.”
Hewitt, who is playing in the wake of foot surgery in February, won the last of his four titles on the grass of Queen's six years ago.
The 31-year-old Australian, ranked 205, saved a pair of match points in the penultimate game before Karlovic secured victory with an ace in 64 minutes.
Karlovic lost the 2005 Queen's final seven years ago and is playing the pre-Wimbledon event for the ninth time, now standing 17-8 in west London.
Earlier, South African ninth seed Kevin Anderson unleashed his emotions to secure a place in the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Britain's James Ward.
Anderson, a semi-finalist at Queen's in 2011 when he lost to eventual runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, hammered 16 aces in his one-hour, 49-minute win over wild card Ward, who reached a surprise semi-final a year ago.
But the number 30 admitted he needed to lift himself emotionally for his first match on grass this season.
“I can sometimes be too passive, but I feel by the end I was really involved in the match. It's a bit of my personality, sometimes it's a challenge to show a bit more emotion,” said Anderson.
Anderson, winner of the Delray Beach title in February, added: “It's always great to get through the first match on grass.
“I'm happy with the way I finished off the match. The court was not as slippery as it seemed in warm-up.”
Gilles Muller, the 14th seed from Luxembourg, spoiled the ATP debut of teenaged Briton Liam Broady whom he beat 6-1, 6-2.
Nicolas Mahut of France, the 2007 finalist, began with a win over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-2 to set up a second round match with British number one seed and defending champion Andy Murray.
Although Murray will be tipped to proceed, Mahut is feeling bullish.
“Of course I believe I can beat him (Murray). Otherwise I wouldn't be on the court,” said Mahut, who took Roger Federer to four sets at the French Open 11 days ago.
“He's the favourite but I just have to come on centre court, enjoy it and play my game.”
Murray's fellow Scot, Jamie Baker, meanwhile defeated fellow Briton Oliver Golding 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 to set up a second round clash with French second seed Tsonga.
Australian Matthew Ebden beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3. - Sapa-AFP