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Hewitt Battles Past Del Potro In Clash Of Former Champs

New York, U.S.A.

© Getty ImagesLleyton Hewitt celebrates his win over Juan Martin del Potro.

Lleyton Hewitt prevailed against Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 in a blockbuster second-round meeting between former US Open champions, Friday night on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"This is why I still play. To have moments like this," he said in an on-court interview.

World No. 6 del Potro found himself in a precarious position early on, with Hewitt holding two chances to go up two sets to none. Three unforced errors later, including a pair of double faults, the momentum shifted in del Potro's favour. He won the next four games to go up 2-0 in the third set. Though Hewitt recovered the break, del Potro drew ahead again.

Hewitt earned his next opportunity to serve out a set after going up 5-3 in the fourth. Though he lost the game, the spirited 32 year old refused to be counted out, surging to a 6-0 lead in the tie-break. He broke del Potro three times in the final set, clinching the victory after just over four hours.

"I was obviously trying to regroup but the conditions were tough out here," said Hewitt. "He was struggling with it for a set and a half, and then he started to find his range a bit more and I was sort of playing a bit more defensive. I had to try and turn the tables. I felt physically I was starting to get a little more on top of things through the fourth set. He played a great game to break me when I served for the fourth set as well. I played one of the best tie-breaks of my life."

Del Potro had also spent more than four hours on court in his first-round match against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and committed a total of 70 unforced errors Friday night. "I think tonight was a really tough battle for both, but in the end he play better," he said. "He played impressive. The tie-break in the fourth set he made very good passing shots. He's a great champion and a great fighter. For the second round, it's a really difficult player."

Del Potro and Hewitt both won the US Open title at 20 years of age. The Argentine defeated Roger Federer in the 2009 final, while the Australian claimed the title with victory over Pete Sampras in 2001.

The former World No. 1 improved to a 7-1 record in night matches on Ashe, and thrilled in being back out on the court where he won his first Grand Slam title. "It’s amazing. I was pumped up when I won my first-round match because I knew obviously playing del Potro, a past champion and a great player as well, there was an opportunity to play on Arthur Ashe. I don’t know how many years I’ve got left in me, I keep getting asked the question, so I was just hanging to get out here and play on this court again and try to put on a great show."

Hewitt will next play unseeded Russian Evgeny Donskoy, who fought back for a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 win over German Peter Gojowczyk. The 23-year-old Muscovite, who entered the US Open at No. 102 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, reached the third round at the Australian Open earlier this year on his Grand Slam main draw debut.

Ninth-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka advanced with a 7-5, 7-6(8), 6-4 win over Croatian Ivo Karlovic, and next faces Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. The former Australian Open finalist dismissed No. 17 seed Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

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Bryans Continue Grand Slam Quest
Top-seeded Americans Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan continued their quest for a calendar year Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Eric Butorac and Frederik Nielsen, improving to a 50-14 match record at the US Open. The four-time champions will next face Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil, who rallied past Spaniards Albert Montanes and Tommy Robredo 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

The British duo of Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray, possible quarter-final opponents for the Bryans, reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over the American-Swedish pairing of Ryan Harrison and Robert Lindstedt.

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