Hewitt seals Aussie victory

DUESSELDORF (Germany): World number one Lleyton Hewitt helped Australia into an unbeatable 2-0 lead over the United States at the World Team Cup yesterday, but then played down his chances at next week’s French Open. 

Hewitt beat American James Blake 6-3, 6-3, varying his game well in blustery and heavy conditions, before compatriot Wayne Arthurs made it 2-0 in the best-of-three encounter with a 7-6, 7-5 victory over Todd Martin in the second singles. 

“I’m getting there, but I wouldn’t read too much into my results here or anything this week,” said Hewitt, who beat Jiri Novak in Australia’s Red Group defeat by the Czech Republic on the opening day. 

“In Paris, a lot will depend on the day and who I play. I could win three easy matches or get myself into a grind.” 

The Australian said the slowness of the courts in Duesseldorf, exacerbated by the heavy rain of the past few days, made it difficult to get into a rhythm. 

“It is tough out there but winning matches here does give me confidence and I feel like I stepped it up again from my first match. I back myself, if I’m confident, to beat anyone on a given day,” he said. 

Blake said that a lack of patience cost him any chance of victory. 

“The reason I am frustrated is because I don’t think he is one of the best players in the world on clay at creating his own pace,” he said.  

“I think he’s a little more vulnerable on clay because the guys who are more patient can run with him all day and then attack when they get the chance.” 

Former French Open runner-up Alex Corretja showed a welcome return to form as he beat Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4 to give Spain a 1-0 lead over the Czech Republic in the day’s other Red Group match.  

Carlos Moya was due to play Jiri Novak in the second singles rubber. 

In the two Blue Group matches held over from Monday because of rain, Chile edged out hosts Germany 2-1, while Argentina completed a 3-0 victory over Sweden. 

Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu recovered from a slow start to beat Rainer Schuettler and Michael Kohlmann 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 and give Chile a winning start to their campaign. 

Argentina’s David Nalbandian and Lucas Arnold also came from a set down to beat Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Enqvist of Sweden 6-7, 7-6, 6-2. – Reuters 

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