PARIS: Lleyton Hewitt scratched and clawed his way into the third round of the French Open yesterday, drawing a warning for an audible obscenity as he beat renegade Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
Hewitt seemed mad at the world – his racquet stringer included – as he fussed and fiddled with some of the dozen sticks he brought to the clay court for what turned into a three-hour, 30-minute stress test.
Up a set and a break against the winner of two titles this season, the Australian found his concentration slipping as a hot afternoon heated up even more. Hewitt swore like a sailor at tense moments, hammering himself verbally. Among other things, he was not pleased with his string tension.
“Some of the racquets were newer and they just felt a bit looser than the other ones,” he explained. “Then you find a racquet that feels a bit better – you want to have them all feel the same.”
As the German-based world number 33 Davydenko began to find his range, Hewitt’s temper slid out of control, his frustration with his play growing as fast as the total unforced errors on court – 112 for Davydenko, 72 for Hewitt.
“It’s very tough out there in the heat of the moment,” said the Aussie, who skipped most of the European clay season to stay at home and watch footy. “I get a bit heated out there but I don’t think it effects my tennis, I can switch it on and off.”
Hewitt had to work to switch on his game in the face of persistent opposition from his fellow 22-year-old.
The tense fourth set was littered with breaks, with Hewitt serving for victory twice without success. When it went to a tiebreaker, the top seed came back from 1-4 down, finally moving into winning position again against the Russian.
Davydenko saved a thrid match point off a Hewitt error, but fell as he sent a forehand wide on the fourth Hewitt opportunity.
“It was a tough match, but I’d expected that,” said Hewitt. “He’s a grinder, he will run lot of balls down and hits sweet from the back of the court. I lost a bit of concentration in the second when I was up a break. I felt in control the whole time, I just couldn’t finish it off – he played a lot better when he was down.”
The way was much easier for third seed Juan Carlos Ferrero, who lost the final last year. The Spaniard claimed a quick win when Nicolas Massu retired injured trailing 6-2, 3-0 with an ankle injury.
Ferrero competed with an ankle problem throughout the Roland Garros fortnight a year ago when he lost to Albert Costa.
“It’s bad luck for him and good luck for me,” said Ferrero.
Ninth seed Costa, who came close to a first-round exit two days ago, had a less dramatic five-set win – his second so far at this edition – 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 over Czech Radek Stepanek.
Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian, seeded eighth, was upset by France’s Nicolas Coutelot 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 2-6, 6-1.
Jelena Dokic bucked a winning trend as leading women's seeds avoided mis-steps. The number 10 suffered a loss to Tina Pisnik 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Second seed Kim Clijsters led the runaway, taking it easy 6-2, 6-2 against German Marlene Weingartner. Venus Williams beat Aussie Evie Dominikovia 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. There were victories for Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati. – dpa
FRENCH OPEN RESULTS
Second round: Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spa) bt Nicolas Massu (Chi) 6-2, 3-0 (rtd); Galo Blanco (Spa) bt Mariano Puerta (Arg) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4; Mariano Zabaleta (Arg) bt Dominik Hrbaty (Svk) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2; Younes El Aynaoui (Mar) bt Christophe Rochus (Bel) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; Flavio Saretta (Bra) bt Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 6-7 (0-7), 6-4; Rainer Schuttler (Ger) bt Jean-Rene Lisnard (Fra) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0; Atila Savolt (Hun) bt Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 3-6, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4; Wayne Ferreira (Rsa) bt David Ferrer (Spa) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; Guillermo Coria (Arg) bt Nicolas Kiefer (Ger) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1; Martin Verkerk (Ned) bt Luis Horna (Per) 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) bt Giorgio Galimberti (Ita) 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1; Xavier Malisse (Bel) bt Stefan Koubek (Aut) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6; Carlos Moya (Spa) bt Mark Philippoussis (Aus) 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7); Vincent Spadea (US) bt John van Lottum (Ned) 7-5, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1; Andre Agassi (US) bt Mario Ancic (Cro) 5-7, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5; Jiri Novak (Cze) bt Marc Lopez (Spa) 6-4, 3-6, 0-6, 6-1, 6-3; Ivan Ljubicic (Cro) leads James Blake (USA x24) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) (suspended due to bad light).
Second round: Lindsay Davenport (US) bt Iroda Tulyaganova (Uzb) 7-5 6-1; Paola Suarez (Arg) bt Corina Morariu (US) 6-1 6-1; Ai Sugiyama (Jpn) bt Sandra Kleinova (Cze) 7-5, 6-0; Patty Schnyder (Swi) bt Stephanie Cohen-Aloro (Fra) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) ; Eleni Daniilidou (Gre) bt Tathiana Garbin (Ita) 6-0, 4-6, 6-2; Ashley Harkleroad (US) bt Daniela Hantuchova (Svk) 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 9-7; Dally Randriantefy (Mad) bt Stephanie Foretz (Fra) 6-2, 6-1; Meghann Shaughnessy (US) bt Ludmila Cervanova (Svk) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Lisa Raymond (US) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3); Laura Granville (US) bt Iva Majoli (Cro) 6-1, 6-2; Chanda Rubin (US) bt Cara Black (Zim) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; Justine Henin-Hardenne (Bel) bt Jelena Kostanic (Cro) 6-2, 6-2; Serena Williams (US) bt Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian (Swi) 6-3, 6-2; Magui Serna (Spa) bt Anna Pistolesi (Isr) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Barbara Schett (Aut) bt Clarisa Fernandez (Arg) 6-4, 5-7, 6-1; Petra Mandula (Hun) bt Anastasia Myskina (Rus) 6-3, 6-4; Amelie Mauresmo (Fra) bt Lina Krasnoroutskaya (Rus) 6-1, 6-2; Fabiola Zuluaga (Col) bt Emilie Loit (Fra) 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 9-7.