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Size of the fight in the Aussie blunts youngster

sports Updated: Jan 21, 2012 23:26 IST
Agencies
Highlight Story

An emotional Lleyton Hewitt somehow dragged his battered body into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday with a 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3 victory over Milos Raonic.

The former world number one, a wildcard in his record 16th appearance at Melbourne Park, rode a wave of emotion from a frenzied 15,000 crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

The 30-year-old Australian sealed victory after four deuces in his final service game with a lob that Raonic could only return over his shoulder into the net.

Montenegro-born Canadian Raonic, who had his breakthrough year on the ATP circuit in 2011, was only six years old when Hewitt made his Australian Open debut as a qualifier in 1997.

Hewitt's mental strength is undiminished, however, and, with his trademark backwards baseball cap. He served solidly, returned manfully and gradually drew Raonic into errors on long rallies, striking back to win the second set and setting up a dramatic third.

Hewitt was not prepared to rule out going further, despite his date with Djokovic. "He's the best player in the world and he's there for a reason. I'm going to have to take it to him," he said.

Djokovic and murray pass french tests

Novak Djokovic hurtled into the fourth round as did Andy Murray.

World No. 1 Djokovic secured his place in the last 16 by beating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-0 6-1 6-1 in an hour and 14 minutes.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga downed Frederico Gil 6-2 6-2 6-2 while Richard Gasquet beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-3 6-1.

Gael Monfils lost to unseeded Mikhail Kukushkin and Julien Benneteau was upended by Kei Nishikori. World number four Murray coasted through with a 6-4 6-2 6-0 win over Michael Llodra.

Top ladies continue triumphant march

Serena Williams raced into the last 16 in 59 minutes with a powerhouse display that left Greta Arn stunned after a 6-1 6-1 drubbing while Wimbledon champion Kvitova's match was only 38 minutes old when Russian Maria Kirilenko retired hurt after dropping the first set 6-0.

Maria Sharapova got past German Angelique Kerber in a 6-1 6-2 victory while Zheng Jie shocked ninth seed Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3. Vera Zvonareva departed in tears after she was shocked 7-6 (9/7) 6-1 by 56th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova.

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