Hewitt turns back the clock to beat Federer

On the rare occasions when Roger Federer's fortunes have faltered in the past, normal service has nearly always resumed once the grass-court season has come around. Even when his run of five successive Wimbledon victories was ended by Rafael Nadal two years ago, Federer returned to the All England Club 12 months later to reclaim his crown and thereby eclipse Pete Sampras's all-time record of 14 major titles.

Until this week, that defeat to Nadal had been Federer's only grass-court defeat in 77 matches going back over eight years. But yesterday, the Swiss lost 6-3, 6-7, 4-6 to his old rival Lleyton Hewitt in the final at Halle, Germany, where Federer traditionally completes his Wimbledon preparations.

Not only was it Federer's first defeat at the tournament since 2002, but it was also Hewitt's first victory over him in his past 16 attempts. The Australian used to be a persistent thorn in the world No 2's side, winning seven of their first nine encounters, but this was his first victory over him for seven years.

Hewitt's career has been dogged by injury in recent times – he had hip and knee surgery after this year's Australian Open – but the former Wimbledon and US Open champion remains a great competitor. He gave Nadal one of his toughest matches at the recent French Open and has always performed well on grass.

The match was tight and ended, after two hours and 20 minutes, when a Hewitt forehand hit the top of the net and toppled over on to Federer's side of the court. It was the world No 32's first grass-court title for four years.

"It was a very sweet win," Hewitt said afterwards. "After surgery, you're never quite sure how long it will take to be truly competitive against the best players in the world, but I had glimpses of it against Nadal in Paris, when I felt I was right in the match. Today, I really felt my movement had come back. It was good quality tennis."

Federer's defeat will reinforce the opinions of those who wonder if he may be on the slide. The Swiss has bounced back from adversity in the past, but he has been on a particularly poor run ever since he beat Andy Murray in the final of the Australian Open. He has not won a tournament since then and his quarter-final defeat to Robin Soderling in the French Open ended his record run of 23 successive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals.

It was Hewitt's first appearance in Halle, the Australian having warmed up for Wimbledon for the previous 12 years by playing at Queen's Club in London, where he has won the title four times.

Queen's crowned a new champion yesterday when Sam Querrey won the Aegon Championships by beating Mardy Fish, his friend and fellow American, 7-6, 7-5 in the final. Querrey, 22, has now claimed titles on three different surfaces this year, having won on clay in Belgrade and on a hard-court in Memphis.

Querrey saved three break points in the second game, but thereafter rarely looked in trouble on his serve and took the first set tie-break 7-3. Four successive aces got the world No 23 off to the perfect start in the second set, only for Fish to break in the fifth game. However, Fish played a poor game when serving for the set at 5-4, rounding off with two woeful backhands, and Querrey broke him again two games later to secure the match.

Maria Sharapova's attempt to win the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston for a third time ended in a 7-5, 6-1 defeat by China's Li Na, who also beat the Russian in last year's semi-finals.

Laura Robson, the 2008 junior Wimbledon champion, was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, the world No 47, in the first round in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, but Heather Watson, Britain's US Open junior champion, recorded the best victory of her career when she beat Tsvetana Pironkova, the world No 81, in qualifying for this week's Aegon International at Eastbourne. Watson, who had never beaten a player in the world's top 100, won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. In the first round of the men's event Britain's Jamie Baker went down 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
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.

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star