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Hewitt Slays Federer To Win Halle Title

Lleyton Hewitt stunned longtime nemesis Roger Federer of Switzerland to lift the ATP grass-court Halle title on his first appearance on Sunday.  The eighth seeded Australian rallied from a set down to beat the five-time
PTI June 14, 2010 10:00 IST
PTI
Lleyton Hewitt stunned longtime nemesis Roger Federer of Switzerland to lift the ATP grass-court Halle title on his first appearance on Sunday.  

The eighth seeded Australian rallied from a set down to beat the five-time Halle champion and top seed Federer 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.  

Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion, ended a 15-match winless streak to the world number two stretching back to a Davis Cup match in September 2003 and moved closer to 100 grass-court match wins as he improved to a 98-23 lifetime mark on the surface.  

The 28-year-old Federer had been looking for his 30th straight match win in Halle and his sixth title in his past six appearances.  

He had not lost a match there since a semifinal defeat to Nicolas Kiefer in 2002 (he did not play in 2007, 2009) and had won 76 of his past 77 grass-court matches, with the only blemish being a five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final.  

"I had a bit more luck today," said the 29-year-old Australian, who sealed the match when the ball clipped the net on its way in and out of Federer's reach.  

Six-time Wimbledon champion Federer, who only lost his number one status last Monday after going out in the quarterfinals of the French Open, had been bidding for his 16th straight victory over Hewitt in their 25th meeting.  

"Any time you play Roger on a grass court you know you're in for a hell of a battle and I was lucky to get out of today's match," said Hewitt.  

"I'm getting towards the end of my career and had a couple of surgeries, to know I can still compete at this level it's fantastic for me," said Hewitt, who lifted his first title since Houston last year.  

Hewitt fought for every ball as he played an almost error-free game from the base line, forcing Federer onto the defensive with the Swiss player's service and forehand letting him down at key moments.  

"That made it tough against him, particularly in the phases when he returned everything," said Federer. "He played fantastic and deserved to win." AFP