Hewitt Rolls Back Clock Late Friday at US Open
by Staff | August 30th, 2013, 11:40 pm

Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, unseeded at the 2013 US Open, rolled back the clock on Friday night, displaying his trademark grinding style in outlasting No. 6 seed Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in a battle of past champions at Flushing Meadows.
“A couple years ago when I had a couple of foot surgeries I didn’t know if I’d be out here competing so it’s a hell of a lot of fun,” said Hewitt, the 2001 champion when he beat Pete Sampras in the final, speaking on court after the match. “I felt like physically I was able to get a little more on top of him in the fourth set.”

After his eighth win in 10 5-setters at the US Open, the Aussie will next meet Evgeny Donskoy on Sunday.

“I’m taking it one match at a time,” the 32-year-old said. “Even when I was No. 1 in the world I was taking it one match at a time. I never was a player to look too far ahead, the way draws can pan out and stuff. Yeah, I think the most important thing in slams is trying to find a way through the first week and then focus on starting fresh the second week if you can. That’s still the case nowadays.”

Del Potro, who seemed to be struggling with his left wrist, gave credit to Hewitt.

“I think tonight was a really tough battle for both, but in the end he play better,” Del Potro said. “He played impressive. The tie-break on the fourth set he made very good passing shots. He’s a great champion and a great fighter. For the second round, it’s a really difficult player.”

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has difficulty adjusting to breezy conditions on Friday before righting his ship to defeat unseeded German Benjamin Becker 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2.

“Yeah, it was a struggle,” Djokovic said. “It was different conditions from the first match, and I knew that he’s a dangerous player. If he serves well and high percentage, he can be dangerous player. He’s very solid from baseline…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. At the start I had difficulty with my footwork.”

No. 3 seed Andy Murray needed four sets to dispatch of Argentine Leo Mayer, who took his turn dictating play during an eventual 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win for the Brit.

“I was a bit frustrated at points in the match because I was doing quite a lot of the running for a lot of it,” Murray said. “I wasn’t getting much depth on my returns, so when he was serving, I was having to do a lot of running. When I was serving, I served a low percentage today. I served pretty well in my first match, and then today struggled to control the first serve. So I was playing a lot of points on my second serve. When that happens, you have to do a lot of the running.”

Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 5 Tomas Berdych made to work against unseeded American Denis Kudla 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 6-3, and No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka defeating unseeded Croat “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic 7-5, 7-6(8), 6-4.

Marcos Baghdatis reached back to his glory days to orchestrate the lone upset of the day, downing big-serving No. 17-seeded South African Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

Other seeded winners on the day into the third round were No. 12 Tommy Haas defeating Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu, No. 20 Andreas Seppi over Somdev Devvarman, No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny topping Alexandr Dolgopolov, and No. 31 Julien Benneteau besting Jeremy Chardy, all in straight sets.

Among the other unseeded Americans in action, Tim Smyczek outlasted American-turned-Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. in five, while Rajeev Ram blew a 2-0 set lead against Spain’s Marcel Granollers, and qualifier Donald Young was sent home.

“I set a goal at the beginning of this year to break into the Top 100,” said Smyczek, who says after the Open he will fly to California to play a series of challenger events. “I got to 101 and still haven’t made it, so that’s still the main one for me. Then just, you know, cementing myself inside there, setting myself up for getting into all the Grand Slams next year.”

World No. 1 Serena Williams followed Hewitt and del Potro onto the court at almost 11:45 p.m. against Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova.

Other Top 10-seeded women’s winners were No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska in a tight one over No. 32 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6(1); No. 5 Li Na handling No. 30 Laura Robson 6-2, 7-5; No. 8 Angelique Kerber overwhelming No. 25 Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 6-4; and No. 9 Jelena Jankovic edging Japan’s unseeded Kurumi Nara 6-4, 7-6(5).

Li had lost to Robson at last year’s US Open, and will next face Jankovic.

“First, I just want to say thanks to the crowd for supporting me,” Li said on court after the match. “I was really pleased with how I was hitting it and I was also serving well.” –

In lower seeded action, No. 15 Sloane Stephens easily won the all-American battle with No. 23 Jamie Hampton 6-1, 6-3, and No. 18-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Jie Zheng 6-2, 6-4.

“It was tough to play Jamie, a good friend,” said Stephens, helped out by 34 unforced errors by Hampton. “This year has been a learning process, and I have just improved so much.”

The Stephens win sets an intriguing match-up in the round of 16 with the world No. 1 Serena, who she had a public feud with earlier this year, saying in an ESPN the Magazine story about Serena, “She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia. And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter…People should know. They think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that — no, that’s not reality! You don’t unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?”

The lone seeded upset on Friday was a mild one as No. 24-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova ushered out No. 16 Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 7-5.

Saturday’s highlights at the US Open are (2) Rafael Nadal vs. Ivan Dodig, (13) Ana Ivanovic vs. American Christina McHale, (6) Caroline Wozniacki vs. young Italian Camila Giorgi, (7) Roger Federer vs. French breakout player Adrian Mannarino, (2) Victoria Azarenka vs. (26) Alize Cornet, (13) John Isner vs. (22) Philipp Kohlschreiber, Jack Sock vs. (18) Janko Tipsarevic, (7) Petra Kvitova vs. Alison Riske, (23) Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez vs. (10) Milos “The Missile” Raonic, (8) Richard Gasquet vs. (32) Dmitry Tursunov, and former champ (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. upset-minded Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta.

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34 Comments for Hewitt Rolls Back Clock Late Friday at US Open

Humble Rafa Says:

My clock works in reverse, no need to roll back. Rolling back is for old people.

Michael Says:

I thought Del Potro was a little bit jaded out there on court. He was not at his best flunking in moments. But all credit to Hewitt the Veteran. He once again proved that his game is still alive and he can take down any player on his day. If a 36 year old player can beat a 23 rd year old in his prime, that goes to show that all these talk of strong and weak era are pure balderdash. Players like Hewitt, Haas are still able to give nightmares to the younger guns. As regards, Andy, well he once again struggled which goes to show that he is yet to come to grips with what is on offer. On the other hand, Novak strode through majestically against Leo Mayer, a good player.

andrea Says:

nice win for hewitt. can’t keep that guy down.

Emily Says:

I’m just curious, Novak struggled in the final last year with the wind. I know it’s supposed to be windy on Ashe, but I never notice conditions bother him that much or make him feel he thus can’t read his opponents. Michael, I totally agree with you in terms of Andy. Novak wants this and Rafa gets a glint in his eye whenever he talks about winning and getting back to #1. If he wants to defend his title, he needs to put a little fear into everyone else. When I briefly watched the match, I saw a bit of the old Andy, yelling at himself, losing points he shouldn’t. Muzza could still keep the trophy, but he needs to go to that zen Lendl mode that got him Wimbledon.

sienna Says:

Yeswithout Tmf we woulde be watching a 5 or 6 time slam winner.

That is the testimony for Federer. He crumbled his generation and is still among the top dogs ar 32.

roy Says:

” that goes to show that all these talk of strong and weak era are pure balderdash. Players like Hewitt, Haas are still able to give nightmares to the younger guns. ”

how? hewitt and haas are great players, but the current generation of top 5 are better. [also hewitt and haas developed their games over the years and are not necessarily worse than they were in their prime if they are healthy.]
consider murray, who is better than hewitt and can’t even get to number one holding 2 slams.
in fact he is number 3 right now holding 2 slams. haas was number 2 without even a slam final.
slams aren’t eveything, but clearly this era is much tougher any way you cut it.
what these two do tend to demonstrate is that fit players in their early thirties are better than players in their early 20s these days, and that the excuses by federer fans {he’s been an old man since 28} are baloney. when federer is 33+ we can start throwing him some over-the-hill bones.

Dan Martin Says:

I have my men’s and women’s picks up for the day – http://tennisabides.com – good matches yesterday and Rusty lives

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!!

hawkeye Says:

roy +1

All that last night proved was that a former number 1 in his early thirties who still works his ass off on and off the court edged out a normally very good top 10 player who was obviously playing hurt.

Delpo hasn’t been the same since Wimby.

Delpo vs Nole in the Wimby SF was one of the best matches of the year. A healthy Delpo laid a classic beatdown on 34 yr old Haas 6-1, 6-2 at IW this year and took out Nole and Muzz in succession.

Credit to Hewitt for maximizing his talent and putting himself to take advantage of an injured Delpo but that’s all it was. Impressive stamina to be sure.

Nole’s path to the semis is the exhibition here.

Get’s tricky after that.

hawkeye Says:

Delpo, when asked, summed it up:

Q. We noticed you were slicing your backhand quite a bit. How was the wrist?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, the wrist is not the way what I like, but what I say is not excuse. Now I have a few days to rest, to fix my wrist again, then see in which tournament I will play next. But I think Lleyton found a way to beat me, and he’s a really good win.


Polo Says:

Unless you can put players of different generations against each other, each of them in his peak year and form, this talk about weak and strong eras is nothing but talk. Whatever comes out of it is mere supposition which is neither true nor false.

Margot Says:

Saw Hewitt beat JMDP at Queens. Hewitt made him look slow. Also not afraid of THAT forehand.
Don’t think JM was injured then.

M Says:

“Saw Hewitt beat JMDP at Queens. Hewitt made him look slow.
Don’t think JM was injured then.”

@Margot –

One doesn’t necessarily follow from the other. That’s bilateral thinking, not critical thinking.

Lleyton played well, and all credit to him. That doesn’t mean Juan Martín’s wrist wasn’t out — did you notice how infrequently he was using his 2HBH?

Also, just because Lleyton — who has always been incredibly fast — made Juan Martín *look* slow (to you), it doesn’t necessarily follow that he *is* slow. Tall people can cover a lot of ground incredibly quickly, but the effort it takes the eye to follow them can affect our perception of how fast they’re moving. That’s just physics.

We don’t have to denigrate one player to praise another.

Rick Says:

Yeah, Roy! Federina picked up some of his Slams from bargains bin! Especially Bagdatis! Really don’t know how he got to the Aussie Open final!

Bad Knee Rules Says:

In 2006 Baghdatis defeated three top 10 players (Rodick, Ljubicic, Nalbandian) on his way to the final and even won the first set against Federer. Baghdatis was hot then!!

Rick Says:

Yeah! So many of these one hit wonders that, Federina got his Slams from! And playing Gonzalez in the 2007 final!

Bad Knee Rules Says:

“He beat—in succession—Evgeny Korolev, Juan Martín del Potro, Lleyton Hewitt, James Blake, world no. 2 Rafael Nadal, and Tommy Haas en route to the final.”

“…world no. 2 Rafael Nadal …”

funches Says:

Hewitt will probably lose to Donskoy in the next round. That’s his pattern these days–play really well to beat a vulnerable seed, then body doesn’t recover.

And Hewitt is nowhere close to as good as he was in his prime. His movement was unbelievable back then and just above average now.

Hass, on the other hand, is playing better than he did when he was No. 2 in the world. The only time his age comes into play is in long best-of-five matches. It’s not evident at all in his game.

Rick Says:

Then Federina ran into the real deal in 2008! Nole made Fed came up with that mono excuse! Another Slam from a fluke called Soderling at the French, and Soderling retired in his youth! LOL

autoFilter Says:

Hurr durr, Federer is only a bargain bin slam winner.

Meanwhile, 6 of Nadal’s 12 slam titles were against Federer, so only the remaining 6 count. But wait, the first came against Puerta (who never won a slam and only ever won 3 ATP titles in 11 finals), so that doesn’t really count. And the last was against Ferrer, which surely can’t count since he’s never been able to threaten any of the “Big 4” anyway and has only even been able to take 4 sets off of Bargain Bin Federer in 14 tries. And then there’s Berdych… are you kidding me? He’d probably choke away a 2 sets to love 5-0 lead in a GS final against Ferrer, so he obviously doesn’t count. And Soderling has only ever won a single MS title, plus even Federer was able to beat him for a FO. So that leaves Nadal with just the two legitimate GS titles he earned against Djokovic.

Only, wait, what has Djokovic ever really done? Oh yeah, he beat Tsonga for his first GS title. And Tsonga did once win a Masters title, but he did it by beating Nalbandian, a guy not exactly known for making good on his talent. So we can scratch Novak’s first GS off the list. So who else has Djokovic beaten for his GS titles? Oh, Murray and Nadal. Well, Murray only ever beat Bargain Bin Federer and Novak himself, which, well, if Nadal is the only remaining guy Novak beat, isn’t saying much at all.

Hurr durr, everyone sucks at tennis, let’s all log off the internet and not watch the US Open.

autoFilter Says:

“Rick Says:

Yeah! So many of these one hit wonders that, Federina got his Slams from! And playing Gonzalez in the 2007 final!”

This would be the same guy that Nadal beat for an Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing, no? One of you guys please be sure to let Rafa know he’s been stripped of his medal on the grounds that it wasn’t an actual achievement, okay? I can only imagine he’d hate to be the last to find out.

Polo Says:

Do I really care who Federer beat in amassing his 17 slams? NO! I am just happy he has won the most.

Rick Says:

And Fed can’t be number 2 on clay, he was beaten by many on clay! Especially this year, he played so badly on clay. Oh it was his bad back, clay isn’t that easy to win on ya know? Especially for the mono GOAT! LOL

Brando Says:

‘Do I really care who Federer beat in amassing his 17 slams? NO! I am just happy he has won the most.’:


The record book just tell you how much a player has won: 17, 12, 6, 2 etc etc.

It does not discriminate nor does it care for who you beat or did not beat.

ALL it tells us is whether you got the W or the L.

That’s it!

And that’s all that matters!

Whether you beat the best or Tom, Dick and Harry does NOT matter at all: who cares?

You do NOT have to prove anything to anyone: just whup the guy across the net to you.

You beat whoever you face and IF it’s not a top player then it definitely is not your fault or problem.

And if you can win a slam then it’ all good.

Getting the win >>>>>>>>>>>> trying to please those who shall never be pleased!

Van Orten Says:

Evans plays great tennis

Humble Rafa Says:

Gaining pleasure and boosting ego by beating midgets.

Jatin Says:

People who bring weak era in their arguments know nothing about tennis.

Then rafa’s gold medal should not be counted as he defeated gonzalez in the finals , right ?
what about the wimby and french open finals in 2010 ?
They don’t count either as he played weak soderling and chocker berdych.

My point is , if you cannot respect a player for what he has achived throughout his carrier and downgrade his achievements by any means then i t tells a lot about your character.

The fact remains. Roger and rafa deserved every slam they won. They don’t need some idiots approvel for that (who knows nothing about tennis , anyway ).

nadalista Says:

“My point is , if you cannot respect a player for what he has achived throughout his carrier and downgrade his achievements by any means then i t tells a lot about your character.”

+1, @Jatin

I hope those Fedfans out there who downgrade Rafa’s wins on clay listen to your wise words.

Rick Says:

CARRIER? WHAT CARRIER? The one Fed got from the bargains store??? LOL

Agree with nadalista!

Rick Says:

And Berdych does not choke against Federina! :-P

Alex Says:


Lol, I think this guy works at the bargain store.

I wonder if they still have that hideously configured green troll. With the words ‘rickaprick’ scrawled across its chest.

I would like to own that, just to set fire to it.

Alex Says:

above should read: @5:19

James Says:

He’s talented and powerful but Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have him beat in one important area of the game, their movement on court. His offensive game is superb when on song. However his defense is not as good as that of a Murray/Nadal/Djokovic. He’s lost quite a few important points to them because just because they retrieve the ball much better.

To win another Slam, IMHO Delpo needs a few more tricks up his sleeve. Some surprise weapon maybe, something he’s better at than Nadal or Djokovic or Murray or Federer. If he believes and continues to work hard, I see him winning another Slam before his career is done.

courbon Says:

@ autofillter: Your post at 8:13 is very funny and true!

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