Baghdatis shoulder collapse gives Hewitt quick victory
Roger Federer takes a 14-match win streak against Lleyton Hewitt into their fourth-round showdown at the Australian Open.sports Updated: Jan 23, 2010 19:01 IST
Roger Federer takes a 14-match win streak against Lleyton Hewitt into their fourth-round showdown at the Australian Open.
Australia's Hewitt set up the high-voltage encounter as his match with Marcos Baghdatis fizzled out after just 54 minutes when the 2006 finalist from Cyprus could not continue due to a shoulder injury. The hard luck handed Hewitt a 6-0, 4-2 victory.
Federer was on fire - his lethal form starting to peak nicely - as he strolled to his 50th win at the event, overwhelming Spain's Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 for a place in the fourth round.
Hewitt and Baghdatis had played a marathon five sets two years ago at the same stage, with the contest ending at 4.34 a.m., the latest finish in Grand Slam history.
Their Saturday meeting was tame by comparison, with the Cypriot off the boil from the start.
"He said he was feeling his shoulder on serve," said Hewitt, the 2005 Melbourne finalist. "He's a tough competitor who won in Sydney last week.
"I learned a lot from playing him there. I lost to him and really wanted to turn it around.
"This is the best I've it with the ball in a long time, I just want to keep just going forward. I'd like to get one back on Roger - he's still human.
"Roger's been a great player for a number of years and he's always been tough for me," said Hewitt, whose last win in the series came at Davis Cup semi-final in Melbourne in 2003.
Federer won his match on the day his twin daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose turned six-months-old.
"I don't think we celebrate six-month birthdays for babies," said the proud father and world number one player. "But if you put their ages together, they are one now ... maybe we can have a little cake with one candle."
The three-time winner is on the march to retrieve title honours after losing a tight final one year ago to Rafael Nadal. Victory over the 32nd-ranked Montanes nudged Federer's career mark at Melbourne Park to 50 wins and seven losses.
"I dominated from my side with serve, which allowed me then to take chances on the return," said the winner of a "pretty straightforward match."
"It was tough to play. He was playing tough from the baseline and making it hard for me. I'm happy with the match and was able to serve it out, so it was good.
"So far it's been great. I'm happy the way I'm feeling. Obviously you'll elevate your game gradually as the opponents get harder."
There was another easy victory for third seed and 2008 champion Novak Djokovic, who crushed Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.
It was an identical story for in form Nikolay Davydenko, through to the last 16 with the loss of just seven games, as he put out Argentine Juan Monaco 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
"It's difficult to say why it's happening. Maybe it's good. I was concentrating much better," said the Russian, who improved his current winning streak to a dozen matches.
Two men went through without much opposition, Pole Lukasz Kubot advancing to his best-ever Grand Slam showing when Russian Mikhail Youzhny had to quit before their start with a wrist injury.
Spanish ninth-seed Fernando Verdasco required a mere 23-minute effort before Australian Stefan Koubek stopped trailing 6-1 after feeling ill with fever.
Women's seeds had it sweet, with both Williams sisters advancing with minimal effort.
Holder Serena handed Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-3 defeat while Venus put paid to Aussie hopes as she defeated Casey Dellacqua 6-1, 7-6(4).
Seventh-seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus defeated Italian Tathiana Garbin 6-0, 6-2.
Russian ninth-seed Vera Zvonareva beat Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-1, 7-5 while 13th seed Samantha Stosur kept Australian hopes alive as she defeated Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-4, 6-1.