Sat, May 17, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Weary Hewitt trips up in third round at Hamburg

REUTERS , HAMBURG AND ROME

Lleyton Hewitt finally ran out of steam and was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 by Fernando Gonzalez in the third round of the Hamburg Masters on Thursday.

The Australian top seed had played six hours of tennis in overcoming his first two opponents and often looked flat against the lively 15th-seeded Chilean.

Gonzalez dominated much of the match with his sharp returns and fierce forehand winners and Hewitt rarely looked capable of turning the tide.

Hewitt swiftly fell behind 5-0 and earned just two game points in the first set.

In the second, Gonzalez broke to lead 1-0 then twice dropped his own serve to love, for the Australian to level the match at one set all.

In the decider Hewitt, who is short of clay practice after suffering a viral infection, failed to impose himself on a confident opponent, earning just one game point, on Gonzalez's serve in the first game.

Hewitt said the long matches in Hamburg meant he was feeling more comfortable on clay with the French Open just 10 days away, but the courts were heavier than those at Roland Garros.

"The French Open is more of a powder kind of surface. I've had decent results here, but I definitely feel I've got better chances at the French Open than here."

Third seed Roger Federer went down 6-3 2-6 6-3 to big-serving Australian Mark Philippoussis.

The Swiss No. 3 seed won the first three games, then fell victim to some fine volleying and crisp passing shots.

But the Australian had trouble closing out the match, failing to convert seven match points at 5-1 and saving two break points at 5-3 before winning on his ninth match point.

Gustavo Kuerten's French Open preparations were also cut short when he lost 7-6 6-4 to South African Wayne Ferreira.

There was little to separate the pair throughout the match, but Ferreira was more aggressive and better at taking any opportunities that fell his way.

The 11th-seeded Brazilian had the early advantage, breaking for 2-1 and holding two break points in the fifth game after Ferreira had levelled at 2-2.

Kuerten also led 4-1 in the tiebreak before surrendering the next six points and the former French Open champion was broken at 4-4 in the second set to allow Ferreira to serve for victory.

Unseeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium followed up his second-round win over French Open champion Albert Costa by ending the run of Britain's Tim Henman.

Although Henman played well in patches, Rochus won the first eight points of the first set and the last 12 before taking a 4-0 lead in the second on the way to a 6-4 6-3 victory.

"There were some good periods, but it's something you have to string together a bit longer," Henman said.

Martinez, Serena, set up quarterfinal clash

The speed and power of Serena Williams are set to clash with the patience and consistency of veteran Conchita Martinez in the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome.

The American and Spaniard set up the match with third-round wins on Thursday, when top-seeded Williams crushed Nathalie Dechy 6-3, 6-0, and Martinez upset seventh-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3.

Dechy contained Williams' aggressiveness early on with quick angled shots, but the Frenchwoman's resistance crumbled as the defending champion's serve and groundstrokes improved.

Martinez allowed her opponent to make most of the mistakes, employing the same steady baseline play that won her four consecutive titles at Foro Italico from 1993-96.

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