Lleyton Hewitt returned from a five-month injury layoff to beat Nicolas Keifer 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 on Monday and keep Australia alive in its Hopman Cup match against Germany. In the opening women's singles, Sabine Lisicki defeated Casey Dellacqua, coming from a service break down in the deciding set to win 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 and give Germany a 1-0 lead.
Hewitt and Dellacqua played Keifer and Lisicki in mixed doubles later on Monday to determine the winner of the Group A match. "It's great to be back," said Hewitt, whose last match was a second-round loss to Rafael Nadal at the Beijing Olympics in August. Hewitt was sidelined by a chronic hip injury after Beijing and later underwent surgery.
Hewitt said he had trouble early on Monday getting his rhythm. "He's (Keifer) a great all-court player, and it was hard to get a read," Hewitt said. "It was a matter of me hanging in there and weathering the storm."
Dellacqua, playing her first match since being sidelined last September by a shoulder injury, served for the match at 5-4 in the third but lost 12 of the last 13 points and had 33 unforced errors overall.
The defending champion United States, led by Meghann Shaughnessy and James Blake, played Slovakia in a Monday night match. On Sunday, the brother and sister combination of Marat Safin and Dinara Safina won their singles matches to give Russia a 2-1 win over Italy. France, which beat Taiwan on Saturday, plays Italy on Tuesday while Australia takes on Slovakia.
The U.S, Australia, Germany and Slovakia are playing in Group A while Russia, France, Italy and Taiwan are in Group B. The winners of each group play in the final on Friday.