Hewitt KO’s del Potro

26 Jun 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

Lleyton Hewitt Knock out Juan Martin del Potro in Wimbledon 2009Lleyton Hewitt had not won a match against a top ten opponent in more than two years, make that his last 40 attempts! On Day Four, all that changed and changed in a big, impressive way. With a 2 hour 30 minute Centre Court 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 thumping of the fifth seed, Juan Martin del Potro, Hewitt kept Australia’s one-man Wimbledon show alive.

When Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon, Juan Martin del Potro moved from his fifth seed to fill the reigning champion’s spot at the top of the draw. The top quarter of the gentlemen’s draw is lightly regarded. Del Potro has never been a “clutch” performer. 6th seeded Andy Roddick has not won a Grand Slam since his 2003 US Open. The unseeded Hewitt is the only other player in the quarter with any major silverware having won the US Open way back in 2001 and having championed Wimbledon way back in 2002. While Roddick has resurrected his game, Hewitt has suffered one disappointment after another.

The bookmakers viewed this quarter with quiet reserve. It seemed that whoever the semi-finalist from this group would be, they just might win through attrition. On the other hand, Hewitt and Roddick are experienced. Opportunity was knocking and they were not about to blink.

Buoyed by a cluster of Aussie fans, the 10-year tour veteran and past-prime 28-year old, came from the locker room with the look and bounce of a winner. All barrels were firing from the start. With 505 career wins, Juan Martin del Potro had nothing Lleyton Hewitt had not seen before. And, Hewitt had salvos that caught the big Argentine flat footed and in dismay.

Hewitt was charged with energy, quick on the Center Court and charged with an all-out game plan. Lleyton Hewitt was going to do what he has done at every Major Championship. He was going to compete hard and with intent. Every shot would have a purpose. And, if he lost, Juan Martin del Potro would know he had been in a Grand Slam tennis match.

Unlike his previous 40 matches against the world’s greatest players, Mr. Hewitt would show his fans what they came to see; a throwback of sorts. There were no nerves. There were no inconsistencies. Hewitt started fast and never stopped. Del Potro was left to shake his head and wonder “who is that masked man?”

With 14 clean aces and just 3 double faults to go with a measly 14 unforced errors, this looked like the Lleyton Hewitt from a different era. This guy was good; dominant in fact. On this day, a fierce Lleyton Hewitt would not loose his serve until it was 5-4 in the third set.

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As del Potro has never bounced back from a two set deficit, the French Open semi-finalist and star-waiting-to-happen had the dazed look of someone who had looked at the future and did not like his chances. The big Argentine was playing not to lose instead of playing to win. In Grand Slam tennis, that just does not get the job done. At Wimbledon, if you blink, you are done.

Juan Martin blinked against Hewitt and the savvy Aussie seized the momentum and never let go. Del Potro, known as an intimidating server registered just 10 aces but tallied four double faults and blasted 24 unforced errors. Those numbers do not measure up against a player of Hewitt’s caliber.

Hewitt was seeing the Argentine’s serve clearly. At times, it seemed like he was at the point of return before the ball landed. Generally characterized as a “feisty” Aussie contender, Lleyton Hewitt officially became a “defiant” contender on Thursday.

So defiant in fact that after losing his serve at 5-4 in the third, he broke right back and then provided the knockout blow by holding convincingly at 6-5, setting off a lively celebration in the Aussie Centre Court corner.

Like Hewitt, Roddick also moved ahead and set fans contemplating the intensity that will most likely accompany the quarterfinal pairing. Roddick bested Hewitt at Queen 7-6, 7-6. A rematch promises hard serving, hard hitting and quick resolution.

Congratulations Mr. Hewitt. A job well done!

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1 Comment »

  • Your article is great, but how come such a good article is spoiled by a poor mistake, its not Del Porto, its actually Del Potro , please correct the mistake before somebody dooms it.

    Comment by Tennis — August 26, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

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