Hewitt knocked out by El Aynaoui - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hewitt knocked out by El Aynaoui

By John Salvado 20/01/2003 11:16:11 PM Comments (0)

Huge-serving Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui scored a stunning upset of top seed Lleyton Hewitt on Monday, extending to 28 years the barren streak by Australia's men at their home grand slam tournament.

El Aynaoui did not drop serve once in the dramatic 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 fourth-round victory, powering down 33 aces along the way.

Hewitt, 21, has already won just about everything in his tennis career - the US Open, Wimbledon, two Masters Cup titles and the end-of-year world No.1 ranking.

But he makes no secret of the fact that the Australian Open is the one title he craves above all others.

Not since Mark Edmonson upset John Newcombe in the 1976 final at Kooyong has an Australian held the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup aloft.

Hewitt came into the 2003 tournament as the title favourite and with the expectations of a nation riding on his shoulders.

After scraping through a tight five-set first-round victory over Swede Magnus Larsson, Hewitt seemed to be heading inexorably towards a dream final against No.2 seed Andre Agassi, who is gunning to be the first non-Australian to win the Australian Open four times.

Instead, El Aynaoui can now look forward to a quarter-final against American ninth seed Andy Roddick, who came back from two sets down to beat Russian Davis Cup hero Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (4-7) 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-2.

German No.31 seed Rainer Schuettler also booked a surprise berth in the last eight today by beating American James Blake 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-3.

But the day was all about a dread-locked Moroccan playing the best tennis of his life at the age of 31, and Hewitt "who left nothing out there today, he was just too good".

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