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Hewitt, Odesnik To Meet For US Clay Court Title

Houston, U.S.A.

Wayne Odesnik In Action© Tessa Kolodny/ROCCWayne Odesnik In Action

Former ATP World Tour No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt advanced to his first final in two years as he beat Russian Evgeny Korolev 7-6(4), 6-4, in the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Australian never faced a break point in the one hour and 33 minute match and he accounted for the only break in the 10th game as Korolev hit a forehand long on match point.

Hewitt, who has not lost a set en route to the final, is trying to capture his first title since Mar. 4, 2007 when he won in Las Vegas (d. Melzer). The 2001-02 ATP World Tour Champion is making his second appearance in an ATP World Tour clay court final. He won his second of 26 career titles on clay in Delray Beach in May 1999, defeating Xavier Malisse.

"It feels fantatsic and it's been a long time coming," said Hewitt, who underwent hip surgery in August last year. "I am really moving well and I'm moving a lot better than I thought in my first tournament on clay. I haven't dropped a set all week and I hope to continue that tomorrow."

Hewitt is bidding to become the first Australian to win the US Clay Court Championship since Jason Stoltenberg in 1994 (d. Markus).

The Adelaide native is third among active players with 498 career match wins, behind Roger Federer (634) and Carlos Moya (573). After winning at least one ATP World Tour title for 10 straight years, Hewitt was winless in 2008.

World No. 100 Wayne Odesnik (pictured) advanced to his first ATP World Tour final with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Germany’s Bjorn Phau in the first semi-final.

The unseeded American fired seven aces and converted four of eight break point chances to wrap up victory in one hour and 42 minutes, avenging the loss to Phau he suffered at Delray Beach in 2004.

The 23-year-old Odesnik was contesting his second straight semi-final in Houston after defeating compatriot John Isner in a third-set tie-break in the quarter-finals on Friday. In the 2008 semi-final, the left-hander held two match points against eventual champion Marcel Granollers before falling in three sets.

Saturday’s win saw Odesnik improve his US Men’s Clay Court record to 7-2 and his career clay-court tally to 11-4, compared to 11-23 on all other surfaces. He had failed to win an ATP World Tour match this season (0-3 record) prior to arriving in Houston.

The Weston, Florida resident is bidding to become the third American to earn an ATP World Tour title this season after Andy Roddick triumphed in Memphis and Mardy Fish captured the Delray Beach crown. 


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