His back creaks these days and his shots lack bite but Lleyton
Hewitt proved again yesterday the value of guts when he hit back
from two sets down to crush former champion Gaston Gaudio at the
The tenacious Aussie hustler, a former Wimbledon and US Open
champion, came through 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to take his place in
the third round along with two of the young guns of men's tennis
still waiting for grand slam glory.
Serbian sixth seed Novak Djokovic, regarded by many as the most
likely challenger to the Federer-Nadal monopoly, breezed past
French qualifier Laurent Recouderc, the lowest ranked survivor in
the men's draw, 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-1.
Marcos Baghdatis, just a year older than Djokovic at 21, also
put down an impressive mark on the Roland Garros clay when the
Cypriot 16th seed reached the third round for the first time with a
7-5 6-3 6-4 victory over Dane Kristian Pless.
"Everybody expects me to be one of the guys who can actually
hurt the best two players in the world and I'm aware of that,"
Djokovic, who beat Nadal on the way to winning the Miami Masters
series, told reporters. "There's a lot of expectation and pressure
but I'm trying not to think about it too much."
Rafael Nadal, unbeatable here in the last two years, defeated
Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third
Australian Lleyton Hewitt reacts after beating Argentinian
player Gaston Gaudio during their French Open second round match at
Roland Garros yesterday. Lleyton Hewitt won 4-6,3-6,6-2,6-4,6-2.
World No 2 Maria Sharapova, still trying to master the claycourt
craft, was the main attraction in early women's play.
The 20-year-old Russian, recently back from a shoulder injury,
showed no ill effects from a second match in two days when she
thrashed American Jill Craybas 6-2 6-1.
Sharapova, twice a quarterfinalist here, was joined in round
three by rising Serbian talent Ana Ivanovic, the seventh seed, who
beat India's Sania Mirza 6-1 6-4.
Experienced Swiss Patty Schnyder, playing here for the 12th
consecutive year, also reached the third round with a 6-3 6-2
defeat of Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko.
Gaudio, winner of an extraordinary final here in 2004 against
compatriot Guillermo Coria, said he felt like quitting earlier this
year, but looked on course for a morale-boosting victory on Court
Philippe Chatrier as he built a two-set lead.
Fourteenth seed Hewitt gritted his teeth and dug deep, however,
and after levelling the match there was only ever going to be one
It was the second time in consecutive grand slams he had
recovered from a two-set deficit, having also achieved the feat in
the first round of his home Australian Open.
Hewitt's next opponent is Finland's Jarkko Nieminen who
demolished French wildcard Mathieu Montcourt for the loss of just
After the low cloud and drizzle of the opening four days of the
tournament, the sun finally came out in the French capital with the
promise of an uninterrupted day's play.
In women's doubles, China's top pair Zheng Jie and Yan Zi
slumped to a first round defeat to Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria
Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain 6-4, 6-4.
It was not all bad news for China as Sun Tiantian and Sun
Shengnan beat local pair Florence Haring and Violette Huck 6-2, 6-0
to reach the second round.
(China Daily via Reuters June 1, 2007)