Hewitt Ends 10-year Clay Title Drought at ATP Houston
Posted on April 12, 2009
Lleyton Hewitt snapped a two-year title drought and a 10-year title drought on clay, defeating unseeded American Wayne Odesnik 6-2, 7-5 on Sunday in the final of the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston.
"A while coming, so it feels great," said the 28-year-old Hewitt. "It's always nice to get back in the winner's circle. This is what the hard work's for, to play weeks like this and to have this kind of feeling at the end of them. It makes all the hard work and gone through the surgery all worth it, so it's a good start to the year now."
Hewitt is making his way back toward the top of the rankings after hip surgery in 2008.
Odesnik found himself down breaks early in both sets against the consistent Aussie.
"The second set, when I was down 3-0, I kind of relaxed and was able to play more aggressively," Odesnik said. "I had nothing to lose, and I started playing much better, and had some chances in the second set to serve for it, but things didn't go my way today."
Hewitt captured his first title of the year on his worst surface.
"Clay is a tough surface to close players out," Hewitt said. "I was playing extremely well up to that point. I played some unbelievable clay court tennis, and he's a tough competitor. He doesn't give you cheap points out there; he makes you work for all of them. I felt like I was able to put pressure on him up until that stage. Even though he got back in that second set, every game bar one that he won in the second set I had game points. It could've easily been 6-love, 6-1 in the second set. I had a lot of chances, I played well to create chances; you've just got to take those opportunities."
Hewitt this week faces another former No. 1, Marat Safin, in the first round at Monte Carlo where he will be in search of his 500th career win.
Odesnik will crack the Top 75 for the first time after his runner-up effort.
"My first ATP final is a bit disappointing, but Lleyton's won many titles and at the end of the week, I still made the final, which is a good week," Odesnik said. "He's one of the greatest returners in the sport. I think his ranking is 70 or 80, but he's been injured and if you look at his results every time he's healthy and playing, he's a Top 10 player. I feel my game has come a long way but I still got a long way to go as far as improvement."