Hewitt clicks in survival mode to scrape through in five sets
Saturday 01 July 2006
If a patchy performance and a narrow escape in the early rounds are a pre-requisite for a successful Wimbledon, put your money on Lleyton Hewitt now. The Australian arrived here as second favourite behind Roger Federer to win the men's title but hardly had the look of a potential champion as he laboured to a five-set victory over Lee Hyung Taik.
Hewitt should have been enjoying a rest day before meeting Belgium's Olivier Rochus in today's third round but had failed to finish off Lee on Thursday night, when he had served for the match. Play was suspended for bad light after the 30-year-old South Korean won the tie-break at the end of an hour-long fourth set before Hewitt eventually completed a 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 victory when the match resumed yesterday afternoon.
Although Hewitt has had a difficult time with injuries in the last 18 months, victory in the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's - his first title since he won in Sydney in January 2005 - seemed to have put the 2002 Wimbledon champion in good shape for his eighth consecutive campaign at the All England Club.
Hewitt dropped just five games in brushing aside Filippo Volandri in the opening round but soon ran into trouble against Lee, who has lost more matches than he has won in 12 years as a professional. The world No 102 has been playing mostly on the Challenger tour this year, though he came here having won four matches in the current grass-court season. A speedy mover around the court, the South Korean was not afraid to attack the net.
Although Hewitt had little trouble getting into winning positions, he kept failing to build on them, converting only six out of 20 break points. Yesterday's second game was typical as he got to 0-40 on Lee's serve but then failed to capitalise.
When Hewitt served at 4-4 it seemed that he might pay for such missed opportunities as Lee hit forehand and backhand winners down the line to lead 30-15. The world No 9 kept his composure, however, and recovered to win the game with two aces.
Having fought so hard, Lee surrendered tamely in the next game, three forehand errors handing Hewitt victory.
"It was survival out there," Hewitt said. "It was a strange sort of match yesterday and it continued today. I had so many break points out there but I just wasn't able to take them.
He added: "I didn't feel I played great yesterday, but he's a hell of a shot-maker. I made it tough on myself, that's for sure."
Hewitt has been tipped as a potential finalist, but he said, "There's a long way to go to Sunday week."
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Liverpool injury news: Brendan Rodgers could be without up to seven players for Burnley game... as Jordon Ibe posts picture of knee brace
Arsenal shareholders Stan Kroenke, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri appear on Forbes' rich list - with a combined net worth of £14.9bn
Watch the moment a basketball player reassures a small boy after a mass brawl erupted on court
Jon Stewart brings The Daily Show to WWE Raw as Seth Rollins pays the price for feud with TV presenter
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'