Hewitt on track for Nadal at French Open - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hewitt on track for Nadal at French Open

By Chris Lines 01/06/2006 10:18:48 PM Comments (0)

Lleyton Hewitt remains on track for a fourth round clash with defending champion Rafael Nadal at the French Open, after progressing past French wildcard Mathieu Montcourt in round two.

Hewitt downed Montcourt 7-5 6-3 6-3 to set up a third-round clash with the winner of Croat Ivo Karlovic and number 22 seed Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.

The winner will then likely meet Nadal, who along with world number one Roger Federer are the strong favourites for the Roland Garros crown.

The Hewitt-Montcourt meeting looked like a mismatch on paper - the former world number one against a man ranked 213 in the world.

Hewitt's career prizemoney before this tournament was $US16,092, 407 while Montcourt's was $US34,907. The Frenchman, in fact, doubled his earnings by making the second round here.

Montcourt had never played an opponent ranked better than 53, and his best-ranked victim was number 107.

Placing Montcourt - a native Parisian - on centre court at Roland Garros was either going to overawe or inspire him.

Initially it looked like the latter as he broke Hewitt in the opening game of the match, and after producing three breaks to Hewitt's two, came out to serve for the first set at 5-4.

But it was too good to be true for Montcourt, as Hewitt broke back and reeled off three successive games to steal the set from under Montcourt's nose in 69 minutes.

Hewitt hit far more winners on his forehand side than Montcourt and played some delightful drop shots and volleys.

Hewitt broke at the first opportunity in both the second and third sets, and while Montcourt temporarily rallied in the third set, it was reasonably comfortable for the Australian.

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