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Youzhny Pips Hewitt In Thriller

New York, U.S.A.

Youzhny© Getty ImagesMikhail Youzhny is through to his third US Open quarter-final.

Mikhail Youzhny advanced to the US Open quarter-finals for the third time in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, battling back from the brink to defeat 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5. 

"I'm happy now, and it was really tough match," he said. "I know that he's great player and he's a great fighting player, who is fighting every point, every match. For me, [how] I beat him today, it's really important."

The 31-year-old Youzhny was a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2006 (l. to Roddick) and 2010 (l. to Nadal) and will look to reach the last four again when he faces World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday. Djokovic needed just 79 minutes to dismiss Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0.

Djokovic leads Youzhny 5-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head. This will be their first Grand Slam meeting since 2006, when Djokovic won in four sets in the Wimbledon third round.

Youzhny overturned a 1-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Hewitt to claim victory in just under four hours on Louis Armstrong Stadium. The Russian had trailed 1-4 in the fourth set and 2-5 in the fifth set, but fought back on both occasions to deny the 32-year-old Hewitt, who was bidding to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final since Wimbledon 2009.

"When you're on court you just try to continue to play every match," said Youzhny. "Never know what happens in the match like today. Sometimes Lleyton helped me, sometimes I played well, so it looks like 4-1 down, but it was just one break. Of course we have a lot of breaks today, and you understand maybe you have a chance next game or just try to be focus and continue to fight."

From 1-4 in the fourth set, Youzhny reeled off six straight games to level the match and take a 1-0 break advantage in the fifth set. Hewitt struck back immediately and looked to have regained control of the match when he broke for a 5-2 lead. However the Australian was unable to close out the match, losing five games in a row.

"There was a lot of momentum changes right from the start," said Hewitt. "He had a lot of different swings out there where we both played better at certain stages for three or four games. It was hard for both of us to hold our serves at times as well out there. In the end, he played the big games when he needed to. He didn't give me too many cheap errors.It's obviously disappointing to lose, but I left it all out there. There's not a whole heap more I could have done."

The 21st-seeded Youzhny had lost just one set to reach the fourth round, beating No. 12 seed Tommy Haas in four sets in the third round. The Russian is through to his first major quarter-final since reaching the last eight at Wimbledon in 2012 (l. to Federer).

Youzhny came into the US Open on the back of successive second-round defeats at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 hard-court tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati, but prior to that had won his ninth ATP World Tour title on the clay in Gstaad (d. Haase).

Hewitt had stunned sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in five sets in the second round before knocking out Evgeny Donskoy to reach the last 16. It was his best US Open showing since 2006, when he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Roddick). The Australian lifted the first of his two major titles at Flushing Meadows in 2001 (d. Sampras) and also finished runner-up in 2004 (l. to Federer).

"It's obviously great to come into the tournament and have a tough draw in the second round playing a quality player. To get through that match and then to bounce back. Every match was going to get tougher and tougher from there on as well. I fought my way through the third round, and obviously it could have gone either way today. It gives me a lot of confidence. It would have been great to have won today. I left it all out there this whole week and a half. I don't have regrets."

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