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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hewitt edges past Petzschner

Photo Titled Lleyton Hewitt
Lleyton Hewitt enjoying life on Court 2 during his third round match against Philipp Petzschner.

Only one place in the world rankings separates Lleyton Hewitt and Philipp Petzschner, and little separated the players for much of their third round match, which Hewitt won 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

But Hewitt, the world No. 56, is a former Wimbledon and US Open Champion who came into this match with a career Grand Slam record of 122-40. Petzschner, the world No.55, has won just the single title and before this match his Grand Slam record was 5-4, and that was all the difference.

Hewitt was returning at his belligerent best. For Petzschner, it must have felt that he was hitting against a brick wall, and brick walls do not make unforced errors. They certainly do not make unforced errors at key moments in the game, unlike the German.

Hewitt was in his element. He must have thought he was playing in Australia, given the heat on court and a small but vocal crowd of gold-wearing supporters who sang songs during each change of end and left Petzschner in no doubt that this crowd was partisan.

The 2002 Wimbledon Champion did not give his opponent a break point opportunity until the third set but credit was due to Petzschner for staying with Hewitt for as long as he did. He was just one service game away from a tiebreak in the first set when he was broken for the first time, after he hit his shot into the net.

In the second set, Petzschner took Hewitt to a tiebreak, where he was his own worst enemy. At 5-2 down, Petzschner put a simple volley into the net and, in frustration, whacked a ball out of the stadium to earn a ball violation. It summed up his day really.

In the third set, the match opened up and Petzschner got his first chance to break Hewitt’s serve and gain a toe-hold in the match. In fact, he had three chances to break Hewitt's serve in the Australian’s first two service games. He could not break Hewitt and that left him broken.

Hewitt closed out the match with two breaks of serve, as consistent as he had been at the start while his opponent was flustered and fluffing shots. For him, it had been what Australians call “hard yakka”.

Court 2 - Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round
Lleyton Hewitt AUS Winner7776
Philipp Petzschner GER 5633

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