Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt defeated an ailing Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3 to win the invitational Kooyong Classic in Melbourne on Saturday and take a timely shot of confidence into next week's Australian Open.
While Hewitt appeared in great touch to wrap up the match in 89 minutes, 12th-ranked Frenchman Monfils was clearly restricted in his movement and grimaced repeatedly when chasing down returns on a steamy day at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.
Monfils said in the lead-up to the tournament he had struggled to recover from a knee injury in the wake of France's Davis Cup final loss to Serbia last month and now appears a fitness doubt two days before action starts at Melbourne Park.
Twice grand slam champion Hewitt, coming back after three months off to recover from a hand injury, will take heart from three successive victories at Kooyong, where he also beat Russians Nikolay Davydenko and world number 10 Mikhail Youzhny.
The 29-year-old's ranking has drifted to 54 but he is adamant he still has the game to trouble the top players at Melbourne Park.
Simon claims Sydney crown
France's Gilles Simon came through a second-set stutter to beat Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-5, 7-6 in an enthralling final of the Sydney International on Saturday.
The 26-year-old former world number six, who recovered from a 3-0 deficit at the start of the second set, continued his return from a knee injury with his eighth tour title, triumphing after two gripping 58-minute sets at the Sydney Olympic Park.
Fourth seed Troicki, roared on by a large section of Serbian Sydneysiders, played his part in the entertaining contest but showed his inexperience with mistakes at key moments and ended up a ball of frustration.
Simon's fifth victory in five meetings with Troicki was a vindication of sorts after he was dropped for the deciding rubber against the 24-year-old in France's Davis Cup final defeat to Serbia last month.