Soderling survives thriller with Hewitt
Fifth seed Robin Soderling came back from the brink of becoming the biggest casualty so far at this year's Wimbledon as he recovered from two sets down to beat Lleyton Hewitt in a thriller under the Centre Court roof.
Soderling was comprehensively outplayed by Hewitt, the 2002 winner, in the first two sets.
Despite now sitting at number 130 in the world, Hewitt has lost none of the tenacity or courage on which he built his reputation.
He looked bang on course to record a 39th win on the SW19 grass too until the Swede finally woke up in the third set and rattled off a trio of set wins to progress to the next round 6-7 (5/7) 3-6 7-5 6-4 6-4.
The match could still have got away from him in the final set as well, with Hewitt breaking in the third game. But, while also sending down 28 aces in total, Soderling broke serve twice more to clinch a memorable win.
There was little on show in a first set decided by a tie-break to suggest such a classic would be in store.
Neither player fashioned a break point during the set but a mini-break arrived in the third point of the tie-break when Hewitt hit long.
He then got the break back, and after three more breaks he took the set when Soderling hit wide.
The trend of holding serve continued deep into the second set, even after Hewitt ground out two sixth-game break points, which Soderling saved with a pair of booming serves.
He only had to wait two more games to get the first break of the match, though, and with it the Australian produced one of shots of the tournament so far. He chased down a Soderling backhand - it looked a winner all day long - and blindly hit one of his own for a winner that brought the crowd to their feet.
Hewitt was at it again in the next set, diving away to his left to volley a winner as serve prevailed until the 12th game when, with Soderling looking the stronger, he forced a weary Hewitt to hit long as he broke and took the set.
Serve dominated the fourth set until the 10th game when Soderling twice earned himself a break and set point, and took one when Hewitt's tired backhand landed just out.
Hewitt's priority was to hang on to his serve at the start of the decider, but when Soderling double-faulted he had three break points.
Soderling's main weapon got him out of danger on all three but, when Hewitt fluked a net cord and Soderling drilled long, the Australian was back ahead.
It was anyone's match, though, and Soderling instantly broke back before sealing another break in the 10th game to win the contest.
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