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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Hewitt stuns Del Potro; Murray ovecomes hiccup

PHOTOS: Hewitt stuns Del Potro; Murray ovecomes hiccup

Last updated on: August 31, 2013 13:09 IST

Hewitt stuns Del Potro in second round

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Australia's Lleyton Hewitt won an absorbing late-night thriller against Juan Martin Del Potro at the US Open on Friday to move into the third round.

In a battle between two former U.S. Open champions, the veteran Australian came out on top after more than four hours, winning 6-4 5-7 3-6 7-6 (2) 6-1, in one of the biggest upsets of the tournament.

Del Potro, who stunned Roger Federer to win the 2009 U.S. Open, was one of the favourites to win the men's singles title but the towering Argentine was unable to find an answer to Hewitt's counter-punches as the pair slugged it out like two heavyweight boxers.

"It's amazing," Hewitt said on-court. "I was pumped up when I won my first-round match because I knew I was playing Del Potro and we could be on Arthur Ashe (Stadium).

"I don't know how many years I have left in me so I was just hanging to get back on this court again."


Image: Lleyton Hewitt
Photographs: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for the USTA

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Hewitt showed he had lost none of his combative spirit

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Hewitt may no longer be as fast as he was when he upset Pete Sampras to win the final 12 years ago but the 32-year-old showed he had lost none of his combative spirit.

Scrambling around the center court to keep up with his younger opponent, he fetched more balls than a golden retriever, and hit a string of inch-perfect winners.

His biggest flaw, however, remains his serve, which lacks the power of most of his opponents and it threatened to let him down.

After snatching the opening set, Hewitt, who also won Wimbledon in 2002, had a perfect opportunity to take a two-set lead.

He was just a point away on his own serve when he double-faulted. Del Potro went on to break him and take the set and seized the momentum.


Image: Lleyton Hewitt
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images

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'It was a hell of a lot of fun, I cherish every match I get'

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The 24-year-old Del Potro, seeded sixth at Flushing Meadows, won the third set but was starting to run out of gas.

He found himself down a break in the fourth and although Hewitt failed to serve out the set, the Australian won the ensuing tie-breaker 7-2 to send the match into a deciding fifth set as the boisterous New York roared with approval.

Del Potro blinked first and Hewitt pounced to break his serve twice and jumped out to a 5-1 lead. The Argentine saved a match point on his own serve but double-faulted on the second as Hewitt celebrated a remarkable victory.

His prize for winning was a third-round clash with the unseeded Russian Evgeny Donskoy, who won his own five-set marathon against Germany's Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, but Hewitt was not looking too far ahead as he soaked up the moment.

"A couple of years ago, when I had a couple of foot surgeries, I didn't know if I'd ever play tennis again," said Hewitt, who has fallen to 66th in the rankings.

"It was a hell of a lot of fun, I cherish every match I get. This is why I still play, to have moments like this."


Image: Juan Martin Del Potro
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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Andy Murray experienced his first little hiccup at the US Open on Friday, but recovered quickly to safely book a place in the third round of the season's last Grand Slam.

The Scotsman was never in any danger of losing his match against Argentine baseliner Leonardo Mayer but did drop a set for the first time in the tournament.

If there were any heart flutters amongst his army of supporters, who were queued up outside Louis Armstrong Stadium to catch a glimpse of the 26-year-old, they were short-lived as he instantly regrouped and ran away with the fourth set to win 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

"It was a very tough match," said the defending champion, whose next opponent is Germany's Florian Mayer. "Both of us did a lot of running.

"I started to move better as the match went on. He's a big hitter of the ball and I had to defend a lot."


Image: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates a point during his men's singles second round match against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina on Day 5
Photographs: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for the USTA

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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The queues were even longer at court 17 where Martina Hingis was making her comeback to Grand Slam tennis.

The former world number one was granted a wildcard entry to the doubles with Daniel Hantuchova but the pair fell at the first, losing 6-3, 7-5 to defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

For Hingis, who retired for a second time in 2007, it was a return to forget as she finished with back-to-back double faults to close out the match.

 


Image: Martina Hingis of Switzerland talks with her partner Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia during a break in their women's doubles first round match against Sara Errani of Italy and Roberta Vinci of Italy
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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Sloane Stephens beat Jamie Hampton 6-1, 6-3 in a battle between two of America's brightest prospects to set up a possible showdown with Serena Williams, if the defending champion wins her night-time clash with Yaroslava Shvedova.

"I think I'm a great competitor. I've come out of a lot of tough situations, a lot of ugly ones," Stephen said.

"That's what I've worked on a lot this year: staying in matches, being able to fight, really digging deep. I think that's helped me a lot this year."


Image: Sloane Stephens of the United States celebrates winning her women's singles third round match against Jamie Hampton United States
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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Novak Djokovic kept his perfect record intact after surviving an early test from Germany's Benjamin Becker on a baking hot day at Flushing Meadows, where gusting winds provided little relief from the heat and made it hard for the players to hit cleanly.

The world number one saved two set points in the opening set before rebounding to win 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2 and advance to the next round against Portugal's Joao Sousa, a five-set winner over Jarkki Nieminen of Finland.

"It was a struggle," Djokovic said. "It was a lot of unforced errors, very windy conditions.

"You couldn't really read and kind of predict where the ball is going to go, so you have to be very alert."


Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory after his men's singles second round match against Benjamin Becker of Germany
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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Tomas Berdych, the men's fifth seed and a semi-finalist last year, beat American Denis Kudla 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 6-3 and will face Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the next round.


Image: Tomas Berdych
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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China's Li Na became the first player to reach the round of 16 when she defeated British teenager Laura Robson 6-2, 7-5.

Li fired down 11 aces and needed just 81 minutes to avenge her third round loss to Robson at Flushing Meadows last year.

"I was a little bit surprised because today I have a lot of aces. It was like, wow," said Li, who plays Serbia's Jelena Jankovic next.

Robson contributed to her own downfall by committing 30 unforced errors, 15 in each set, but said she was happy with her steady progress in the game.

"I think I'm going in the right direction. I feel like I'm improving and working on a more all-around game," she said.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work, but I'm willing to do that."


Image: Laura Robson of Great Britain walks off court past Li Na of China after their women's singles third round
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Murray ovecomes hiccup; Hingis comeback ends

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The ultra-consistent Agnieszka Radwanska wore down Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6(1) to also reach the fourth round, continuing her impressive streak at this year's Grand Slams.

If she wins her next match, the third-seeded Pole will become the only woman to reach the last eight at all four Grand Slams this year.

"Well, of course I will do everything to make the quarter-final this year," she said. "I like the hard court and I really had great results on that surface. I think it's just something wrong here that I can't pass the fourth round.


Image: Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland plays a backhand during her women's singles second round match against Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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