Lawn Tennis
Lleyton Hewitt Bids Australia A Goodnight
By Ken Miller, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 3:59pm CST USA
Lleyton Hewitt Bids Australia A Goodnight, 
Novak Djokovic, Fourth Round
Photo by Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images
Melbourne--( 19th seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, who had won a marathon night match in the previous round defeating Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7(4-7), 6-3 failed to repeat his late night success Monday night Melbourne time as he lost to the 3rd seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in the round of sixteen.

I didn't feel too bad," said Hewitt. "But probably not quite as sharp as I would have liked to be. He was too good tonight."

And as Hewitt leaving the court bid the Australian crowd goodnight, the country of Australia was once again left with no countrymen in the men's or women's singles draws. The last Australian to win an Australian Open singles title was Evonne Goolagong-Cawley in 1977.

In set one Hewitt broke serve and held for a 4-2 lead, only to be broken twice himself to lose the set 7-5. After exactly one hour on setpoint, a Djokovic backhand crosscourt forced a Hewitt backhand wide.

More breaks continued in the second set as Hewitt broke serve to go ahead 2-1, before doublefaulting and slamming a ball into the stands in anger and losing his own serve. Djokovic held his serve for 5-2 after contesting heating points including a 31 shot rally in which Hewitt netted a forehand and Djokovic received a time violation afterwards. A Djokovic backhand stab winner at the net on set point awarded him a two sets to none 7-5, 6-3 lead in the match.

After falling behind two service breaks in set three to reach 2-5, Hewitt saved two matchpoints and broke the Djokovic serve to draw to 3-5. However a netted forehand and backhand on the last two points of the match sealed Hewitt's defeat after two hours and twenty-six minutes.

Hewitt was left to wonder if his previous five setter had drained him of the edge he needed to win or if it would have mattered at all against an in form Djokovic who seemed more than ready to rally with the Australian counterpouncher.

"I didn't feel too bad," said Hewitt. "But probably not quite as sharp as I would have liked to be. He was too good tonight."

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