Ferrer ends era by sending Hewitt into retirement

MELBOURNE: Spain's David Ferrer ended an era in Australian tennis by sending former world number one Lleyton Hewitt into retirement with a 6-2 6-4 6-4 victory in their second round clash at the Australian Open on Thursday.

World number eight Ferrer was in no mood for sentimentality to give his 34-year-old opponent a fairytale finish to his last tournament as he clinched the crucial points, especially when Hewitt's periodic fightbacks brought the crowd into the match.

Ferrer broke Hewitt twice in the first set after some early typically pugnacious defence and counter-punching from Hewitt and then held serve in a marathon eighth game of the second set to consolidate an earlier break.

The 33-year-old Spaniard broke Hewitt early, then gave it back before he broke again in the seventh game, which was enough of an advantage to set up a third round clash with Steve Johnson of the United States.