Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt are set to resume one of the oldest rivalries in tennis when they contest the Brisbane International final today.
They both needed three sets to secure a 27th encounter after Federer edged Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 and Hewitt proved too strong for Japan’s Kei Nishikori as he rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win yesterday.
“Roger and I have a good history and a lot of tough matches in the past in slams, Davis Cups and everything,” Australia’s Hewitt told reporters.
They first played in Lyon 15 years ago with Hewitt emerging victorious, as he did in seven of the first nine matches with the last of those coming in a Davis Cup clash in 2003 where he battled back from two sets and 5-2 down to overcome the Swiss.
Federer regards that contest as a landmark moment in his career, while Hewitt sees it as one of his greatest wins.
“It has to be one [of my best],” Hewitt said. “In the conditions and over five sets and he was the reigning Wimbledon champion only a couple months before that as well.”
Since then, Federer has been dominant, with Hewitt’s victory in Halle in 2010 his only win in the last 17 contests between them.
The Brisbane tournament acts as a warmup event for the Australian Open, the first grand slam of the season, which is scheduled to start in Melbourne on Jan. 13.