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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 07:40 GMT
Hewitt thrashes struggling Safin
Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt is convinced he can return to the world's top five
Lleyton Hewitt began the defence of his Las Vegas Open title with a crushing victory over wild card Marat Safin.

Hewitt won the battle of the former world number ones 6-2 6-1 in just 58 minutes, leaving Safin with just one victory so far in 2008.

The former US and Australian Open champion has slipped to number 87 in the world rankings.

"I'm out of rhythm, so of course it's tough to play with someone like Lleyton Hewitt," said the Russian.

606: DEBATE

Hewitt, ranked 24, has hardly been in spectacular form himself in recent years but is looking for his fourth title in Las Vegas.

"Marat is a tough guy to play because he has so much power," said Hewitt.

"I mixed up my play a little bit and he struggled. But you never know with Marat. He can turn it on at any time."

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