Thanks a lot, Tara.
Great win over Nadal, who has kind of won me over with his inspired play. *places toe on the bandwagon--lol*
Linda Pearce discusses Lleyton and Mark's chances...good luck, Lleyton.
Will it be Australians' day?
By Linda Pearce
January 26, 2004
Roger Federer takes a 10-hour advantage into tonight's Australian Open fourth-round match against Lleyton Hewitt, but also a compelling reason to fear being mown down from behind. As much as Federer insists he has not been haunted by Hewitt's inspired September comeback in the Davis Cup semi-final, they are powerful images, difficult to forget or ignore.
Federer told The Age recently he was not concerned by his fade-out as much as had been assumed, for he had completed a fine opening win over Mark Philippoussis and then played five sets of doubles the next day while Hewitt lounged about with his feet up. Nor, Federer insisted, did he cost Switzerland its first Davis Cup finals appearance, for the chances of Michel Kratochvil defeating Philippoussis in the fifth rubber were remote.
But what Federer cannot deny is the fact Hewitt has beaten him seven times out of nine - none on the grand slam stage - the most recent on Rod Laver Arena from a deficit of two sets and 2-5.
That was less than three months after Federer claimed his first Wimbledon title with an acclaimed display that contrasted with Hewitt's humiliating first round against Ivo Karlovic.
"I played well in Davis Cup and also here now," Federer said after his third consecutive straight-sets rout, over Australian wildcard Todd Reid on Saturday.
"I'm looking forward. It's a good match-up. We've got two totally different games. He's got a much better record against me, so that's his advantage. But, you know, hopefully I can use something else.
"We have always had very tight matches. You know, even though I've beaten him twice, one time I beat him I saved match point. Could be also 9-1.
"On the other side, it could also be 5-4, 5-all, whatever. We've always had tight matches and physically tough, I always thought: Shanghai, Davis Cup, all the other matches. So, (I'm) looking forward to it."
Hewitt's patriotic fires will be burning on Australia Day, but Federer has the advantage of an easier lead-in. Federer disposed of Reid almost 10 hours before Hewitt walked away from Saturday night's testing 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 defeat of Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal. There is no question whose form has been more impressive, though the quality of Hewitt's opposition has probably been higher.
Nadal did not win a set, but it was effectively a match between equals, and the rising star told the Spanish media afterwards he believed he had been close to winning. Not a set, the whole match, he insisted, and blamed the Hewitt forehand on the fact that he did not.
Earlier on Saturday, Federer's forehand had dismantled Reid, and the second seed's next Australian opponent well knows what to expect as he attempts to reach his first Open quarter-final in eight attempts.
"Doesn't get any easier, that's for sure," Hewitt said. "Hopefully I can get off to a bit better start than I did last time against him a few months ago."
Both were asked to explain the resounding 7-2 record. If Federer knew why, he said with a smile, it would be different. Hewitt, meanwhile, quite graciously suggested his first few wins had come before Federer, who is six months younger and started and matured slightly later, had reached his peak.
"Since we've probably both been at our best, we've probably only played a couple of times, I think," Hewitt said. "Nearly all the matches have been pretty close. The only match I think I lost to him was in Basel . . . in the semi-finals of the Swiss indoors, and I lost 7-6 in the third. I think I had match point. I've really got to play some of my best tennis to keep up with him."
Mark Philippoussis's best tennis should be enough to overcome the wickedly talented but unreliable Hicham Arazi in the preceding match on Rod Laver Arena. Arazi outplayed Albert Costa in four sets to reach the Open's fourth round for the third time. Philippoussis has come this far three times, but unlike Arazi, has never gone further.
The local 10th seed is expecting Arazi to stay on the baseline, rally and run all day. "For me, it's important not to get pulled into that sort of play," Philippoussis said. "I think I'll try and keep the points short, chip and charge when I can, just put the pressure on them. If they pass me all day, it's just too good."