Hewitt the centurion at his fist-pumping best for fight with Djokovic

Gritty Australian, the only current player with over 100 wins on grass, continues his renaissance with demolition of Monfils

There are not many grass-court records that do not belong to Roger Federer, but Lleyton Hewitt is defending one of them with his usual tenacity.

The Australian has won more grass-court matches than any other current player and reached a century of victories earlier this week. Victory No 101 followed here yesterday as Hewitt beat France's Gaël Monfils 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 to earn a fourth-round encounter with Novak Djokovic.

Hewitt has not won a Grand Slam title since he added the 2002 Wimbledon crown to his US Open victory the previous year. He has not reached a Grand Slam semi-final since 2005.

When Hewitt had surgery on his right hip after this year's Australian Open some might have wondered whether he would ever challenge again at the highest level, but the 29-year-old's performance in the pre-Wimbledon grass-court event at Halle strengthened his conviction that he still has it in him to compete with the best. His victory over Roger Federer in the Halle final gave the world No 26 his first title for more than a year and inflicted only the second grass-court defeat on the Swiss since 2002.

Hewitt had lost his last two matches to Monfils, who also had the benefit of a coach, Roger Rasheed, who used to work with his opponent. The 23-year-old Frenchman, the world No 20, is a wonderful athlete, but in Hewitt he was facing one of the game's grass-court masters.

Even when he got into trouble, Hewitt retained his self-belief. Serving in the second set at 5-6 and 30-30, having just dumped a lame forehand into the net, he charged forward and hit an exquisite forehand volley winner after Monfils had pounded a big backhand down the line. Monfils' missed forehand then took the set into a tie-break, in which both men made a succession of errors. When the younger man served at 9-10, another superb low volley gave Hewitt the set, which he celebrated with a vigorous display of fist-pumping.

Monfils fought back from an early break in the third set, but Hewitt broke again at 4-5 to take the match. At 0-15 he won a superb point with a half-volley down the line, at 0-30 a big backhand cross-court winner set up match point and at 0-40 Monfils double-faulted to send Hewitt into the fourth round here for the seventh year in succession.

"I feel good at the moment," the Australian said afterwards. "It was always going to be a tough match. He's flashy, like most French guys. He's got a lot of firepower out there. He moves well. Obviously, grass takes away a little bit of his movement, but in terms of his serve he hits all the spots extremely well. That's what makes it tough on a grass court. I felt like I played well out there today. I played smart tennis."

Asked about his fist-pumping after winning the second set tie-break, Hewitt said: "That's who I am. You can't buy that. That's my personality coming out on the court. I've always played with my heart on my sleeve. It doesn't matter what the situation is. If I'm up for the fight, then it's going to show at the right times."

Djokovic, who crushed the Spanish clay-courter Albert Montañes 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, has beaten Hewitt in their last three meetings, two of which have been on grass – here three years ago and at Queen's Club 12 months later. The world No 3 would love to avenge Australia's victory three days ago over Serbia at the World Cup.

"When my football team loses, I'm a very bad loser," Djokovic said. "I had a sleepless night after we lost."

Andy Roddick dropped a set for the second round in succession before beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3, while Federer, having dropped two sets in his first match and one in his second, continued his improvement by beating Arnaud Clément 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. The Frenchman had beaten him in both their previous Grand Slam meetings, in the Australian Open in 2000 and 2001, but never looked capable of upsetting the top seed here. It was Federer's 95th victory on grass.

The defending champion now plays Austria's Jürgen Melzer, who beat Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Federer and Melzer, who reached the French Open semi-finals earlier this month in his best Grand Slam performance, have been friends since they were junior doubles partners at the Orange Bowl in Miami, but this is the first time they have met on the professional tour.

Asked about meeting the Queen at the All England Club on Thursday, Federer said he had sat next to her at lunch. "She made everybody feel very special at the table," he said. "She knew about my tough first round."

Asked exactly what she had said about his first match, Federer joked: "She said I should hit more backhands down the line."

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform