Lleyton Hewitt vs Robin Soderling preview
The proceedings on Day 4 at the Center Court will be opened by a blockbuster second round match between Robin Soderling and the 2002 champion at SW19, Lleyton Hewitt.
One of the most awaited second round clash promises to be a mouthwatering one for the spectators.
After turning pro in 1998, Lleyton Hewitt won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2001 and ended the year as world No. 1. He followed it up by a Wimbledon title the next season. Then Roger Federer came to the scene and the Aussie started fading away.
Hewitt is in the twilight of his career and at 30, he is ranked 130 in the world. His descent from the pinnacle of men’s tennis has been plagued by several injuries.
But we witnessed his drive and passion for the game in the grueling five set marathon against David Nalbandian at the Australian Open this year. His desire to win was clearly reflected in his emotions when he fell down on his knees and pumped his fists after schooling Kei Nishikori in the first round here.
After beating Gael Monfils earlier in January, the Frenchman remarked that the Aussie has still a major left in him and if he is able to survive the “Soderling” storm today, it would definitely act as a morale booster for the Aussie to run deep into the tournament (Hewitt has reached fourth round or better nine of the past ten years).
The first round match against Kei Nishikori was a tight 6-1, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 affair, lasting for three and a half hours. Hewitt played an inspired brand of tennis, which can pose the Swede a serious threat to his campaign, if he continues to exhibit the same form that we saw in his first round encounter against Halle runner-up, Philipp Petzschner.
An uncharacteristic 44 unforced errors and a meager 57 per cent of first serves along with 21 break point opportunities for the German.
The Aussie clearly dominates the Swede 3-1, though all the matches were on hard courts. Soderling won their last encounter 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, at the Cincinnati Masters event last year.
Hewitt is an effective defensive counter puncher who has one of the best return games on the tour. If Soderling misses his first serves and ground strokes, an upset is likely to be on cards.
The fifth seed has to be more consistent than just slamming the ball into the court and expecting such a consistent baseliner to make an error.
I expect the Swede to reel through in four, though I wish to see an upset here.