Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Hewitt battles to reach quarterfinals

RESILIENCE Three-time champion Lleyton Hewitt had to work hard to stave off the dogged attack of Jonny Marray to survive in the Stella Artois Championships

REUTERS AND AFP , LONDON AND HALLE, GERMANY

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday plays a return to Britain's Jonathan Marray during their third round match at the Queen's Club grass court tennis tournament in London. Hewitt won the match 7-6 (6), 7-6 (8).

PHOTO: AP

Three-time champion Lleyton Hewitt needed all his famed resilience plus a large slice of luck to shake off dogged Briton Jonny Marray and reach the quarterfinals of the Stella Artois Championships on Thursday.

The sixth seed stonewalled six set points in the first set and had to fight off one more in the second before finally downing the rampaging, net-charging Marray 7-6 7-6.

"He enjoyed coming into the net and picked up some great low volleys, that's for sure," the Australian smiled after setting up a quarterfinal with Russia's Igor Andreev.

Marray was jubilant despite defeat.

"I had a great time, it was a great atmosphere," the 23-year-old wildcard smiled. "I stuck to my gameplan and caused him a few problems."

Andy Roddick kept the defense of his title alive earlier on center court with a hard-fought 7-6 4-6 6-4 win over Mario Ancic.

The US Open champion struggled for 102 minutes against Ancic, a powerful Croatian, before finally clinching victory.

"That kind of match, you just have to stay the course," the top seed said.

"It was crucial to get through. I want to get some wins under my belt ... set the tone for the rest of the grasscourt season."

Roddick will face Thai Paradorn Srichaphan for a spot in the semis.

Earlier, Ian Flanagan's fairytale run ended when the Welshman was outclassed 6-2 6-0 by Sebastien Grosjean -- Roddick's victim in last year's final.

Flanagan became man of the moment at the US$860,265 grasscourt event by disposing of 2003 Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis and Romanian Victor Hanescu through the third round.

But in a 50 minute-drubbing, each of the 853 ranking places separating the 22-year-old Briton from France's Grosjean became painfully evident on a blustery Queen's Club center court.

Flanagan managed to hold his serve just twice and never threatened Grosjean's delivery.

"This last week has been the best week of my life, tennis-wise, and I am going to enjoy it until I walk out of the gates tonight," Flanagan said.

"I mean, that guy is the best player I have ever played against. I'm not disgraced at all. He has beaten Tim [Henman] ... he's beaten everybody. Today he was superb. He didn't give me an inch."

ATP Tournament

German number one Rainer Schuettler found his feet on grass on Thursday with a straight sets win over Swede Joachim Johansson which puts him through to the quarterfinals of the US$791,750 ATP tournament in Halle.

Schuettler, 28, came away 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 winner against 21-year-old Johansson who had beaten the second-seeded German in their only previous meeting in Sydney earlier this year.

"I played a solid game and served well. I didn't give him the chance to come back," said Schuettler after achieving his best showing at the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event here.

The German, who admitted that he "couldn't look at a racquet for a week" after his first round elimination from the French Open, next meets compatriot Nicolas Kiefer, winner of the title here in 1999.

Kiefer achieved his sixth win in 11 meetings against Swede Jonas Bjorkman 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Surprise package Fernando Verdasco, who dumped fourth seeded Dutchman Martin Verkerk in the first round, continued his form with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Italian Andreas Seppi.

The 20-year-old Spaniard next meets US sixth seed Mardy Fish who beat Armenian Sargis Sargsian 6-4, 6-3.

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