MELBOURNE, Australia — There’s a reason why Lleyton Hewitt could keep tennis fans awake until after 4 in the morning, even when he was playing at home, years after winning Grand Slam titles in far-away New York or London.

Hewitt contested every point. If he was smaller or less powerful than his opponent, he countered that by tenaciously chasing, retrieving and grinding foes down.

His relentless intensity and never-give-in attitude had critics bristling when he emerged as a brash, up-and-coming teen wearing his cap back-to-front. But they later applauded him when he matured and slightly mellowed into a tennis elder.

Hewitt’s 20th bid to win the Australian Open ended Thursday night in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 second-round loss to eighth-seeded David Ferrer, his last singles match as a pro.

Typically it was a feisty affair. He launched a verbal volley at chair umpire Pascal Maria after the seventh game of the last set when he was angered by foot-fault calls.

“Left nothing in the locker room. That’s something I can be proud of,” said Hewitt, who turns 35 next month. “My whole career I’ve given 100 percent.”

Nobody would argue with that. Before Roger Federer won the first of his record 17 Grand Slam titles, at Wimbledon in 2003, Hewitt had won the 2001 U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 2002. They were roughly the same age.

Hewitt was the youngest man to hold the No. 1 ranking, aged 20 years and 8 months in November 2001. He held the top spot for 80 weeks.

In other matches, Andy Murray scored a 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 second-round win over Sam Groth.

The 2014 champion, Stan Wawrinka, had a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over 37-year-old qualifier Radek Stepanek, joining No. 10 John Isner, No. 13 Milos Raonic and No. 16 Bernard Tomic in the next round.

Fernando Verdasco lost to Dudi Sela, a surprising defeat coming two days after he beat 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal.

Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza, seeded No. 3, No. 7 Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Karolina Pliskova, No. 15 Madison Keys and No. 20 Ana Ivanovic had second-round wins in the women’s draw, while two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka continued her strong recent run.

In Friday’s early matches, Kei Nishikori of Japan reached the fourth round for the fifth consecutive year with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.

Nishikori had a medical timeout at the end of the first set for a problem with his wrist, but didn’t look impeded as he closed out in the match in just under three hours.

Maria Sharapova, the No. 5 seed, was taken to three sets against American Lauren Davis, but she turned it on in the final set for a 6-1, 6-7, 6-0 victory.

Belinda Bencic became the first player to advance to the fourth round with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Kateryna Bondarenko in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena.