Hewitt eyes title after completing Italian job

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The 2002 champion fell out of the world top 10 because of a persistent ankle injury, but his fourth Queen's Club crown two years ago set him up for another title challenge. And the way in which Hewitt disposed of the world No 56, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 sent out a warning to his rivals in the bottom half of the draw. Hewitt said: "Obviously on grass I feel at home straight away and I felt like I could be in charge dictating play. It was the perfect result."

Despite never really coming close to repeating his title win four years ago, the 25-year-old contends he has never lost the belief that he has what it takes to succeed on second Sunday again.

He added: "The way I played last year coming in after a few small injuries I felt like I hit the ball extremely well and, apart from Federer, I felt like I was the best player here. The US Open was the same because I felt I played well the whole time and had a chance against Federer. It was only really the Australian summer where I struggled a little bit."

Hewitt, whose scurrying baseline style gave outclassed Volandri an almighty headache from the start, is due back on court tomorrow against the improving South Korean Lee Hyung-Taik.

The fourth seed David Nalbandian continued his serene progress with a thoroughly convincing 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 second-round victory over Arnaud Clement. The low-key Argentinian dazzled his opponent with a delightful array of passing strokes which suggested he might be the man to pose the biggest threat to Federer's dominance.

And Nalbandian insisted he was feeling no ill effects from the injury which forced him out of the French Open semi-final, saying: "I am playing better every time and in good shape."

The fifth seed Ivan Ljubicic survived a major scare and a four-hour marathon before finally wearing down last year's quarter-finalist Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 11-9. The Spanish serve and volleyer battled his way past the Croatian's big serve to come back from two sets down, but Ljubicic, who beat Lopez at the Australian Open in January, finally took advantage of his eighth match point to squeeze through. Lopez, the victor in all four five-setters he had played at Wimbledon before, saved seven match points in the deciding set before finally succumbing with a tame double fault to Ljubicic, the fifth seed.

Former semi-finalist and 15th seed Sébastien Grosjean comfortably overcame fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to take his place in the second round.