Two-time champion Rafael Nadal moved a step closer towards his
hat-trick of the French Open as the bull-like youngster shattered
late comeback from Australian Lleyton Hewitt to advance into the
quarterfinals on Monday.
With the 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 win, the second seeded Nadal extended his
unbeaten record at Roland Garros to an incredible 18 games and he
will now be able to make it 19 with a last eight clash against
fellow Spanish Carlos Moya.
Hewitt was one of just four players to have held a winning
record against Nadal, but the number 14 seed found no answer to his
opponent before the straight set slump.
Nadal opened strongly, racing up to a 4-0 lead in just 13
minutes while a sluggish Hewitt struggled to find his feet. The
Australian, who seemed devoid of any attacking ideas, only allowed
Nadal to steamroll him. Nadal took the set at 6-3 in 36
The second set proved no better for Hewitt as Nadal hit top gear
and found the corners much more easily with his topspin. Hewitt
then failed to trouble the world number two and dropped the set 6-1
in 33 minutes.
Hewitt finally composed himself from the first point of the
third set and went on to match Nadal game for game as the
scoreboard slowly rose to 5-5. But right at the death, Nadal made a
breakthrough and won the chance to serve for the match.
But Hewitt refused to lie down and staged a super comeback to
break back straight away, forcing the set to be decided on a tie
A mistake from Hewitt at 5-5 in the tiebreak set up Nadal for
victory, as he clinched the tie break at 7-5.
(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2007)