Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt beat Chinese number one Zhang Ze in straight sets in the opening match of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania qualifying tie in Geelong.
Hewitt, who turns 31 next month, dominated the encounter at the Geelong Lawn Tennis Club, winning 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
It was the baseliner's 38th Davis Cup singles victory, a remarkable 14 more wins than by any other Australian.
Hewitt cruised through the opening two sets but was made to work harder in the third by Zhang, who was unable to convert two break points in the sixth game.
The set eventually went to a tiebreak, which the vastly experienced Hewitt won when Zhang tugged a forehand wide on the first match point.
Hewitt also beat Zhang in the final round of Asia-Oceania qualifying last year, although on that occasion he was taken to four sets by the Chinese player on an indoor hardcourt in Beijing.
"Any Davis Cup match is extremely tough," Hewitt said on Friday.
"I just came out and tried to play my game.
"We had tough matches against these guys in Beijing last year and the third set here was tight."
Australian number one Bernard Tomic plays China's Wu Di in Friday's second singles match.
AAPTags: tennis, sport, geelong-3220, vic, australia, china First posted February 10, 2012 13:29:02