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Nadal Stops Late Charge to Beat Hewitt at French Open
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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 minutes.

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 break.

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)

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