Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Hewitt begins farewell

Poor James Duckworth.  Having to play Lleyton Hewitt in the first round and wanting to win but not wanted to win by the vast majority of fans who would like a fairy tale finish to Hewitt's Aus Open adventure.  It has been a long and terrific journey through twenty years at Melbourne Park and fitting that a fellow Australian has the opportunity to share centre stage with one of our great players on the second night on Rod Laver Arena.

The start of the match was delayed due to the late finish of the Verdasco/Nadal epic, and once on court the first to serve was Duckworth and he impressed with two aces and a solid hold.  Hewitt served a few of his own and 1-1 appeared on the scoreboard.

The trend continued, Duckworth increasingly good on serve leaving Hewittt little room to move around the court and introduce his typical brand of tennis into the match.  Six games in and serving still dominated, although Hewitt did struggle to level at 3-3.

The all important seventh game saw the Duckworth first serve fail and Hewitt capitalise on the less than effective second delivery.  Duckworth saved two break points by changing tactics, but Hewitt created another which he converted by moving into the net after a lengthy rally.  The lead was Lleyton's 4-3.

Hewitt served well again to consolidate the break and it was 5-3. Duckworth found a little of his former confidence on serve to bring it to 4-5 but it was Hewitt who could determine the result of the set now.

A blistering forehand return from Duckworth followed by an off forehand winner and drop volley from the same racquet earned a break point which he converted straight away for 5-5.

Duckworth once more grabbed the advantage after a convincing service game, first serves finding their mark again.  Hewitt ensured there would be a tie break, holding serve well in the twelfth game.

Having achieved the initial mini break, Hewitt never let go, leading 3-0 then 4-2, before finally winning the tie break and the set 7-6.

Hewitt held the opening serve of set two, the highlight being a backhand cross court drop volley winner from his racquet,
At 1-2 Duckworth began to look intimidated by Hewitt's consistency and was regularly falling into error.  He lost his serve and trailed 1-3 giving Lleyton more impetus as if he needed any.

Another strong effort from the service line, helped by further errors from Duckworth, moved the score line to 4-1 and the set was suddenly almost over.

Duckworth served two aces in a game which saw him regain some confidence, and he should have broken Hewitt in the seventh game, but Hewitt stubbornly saved three break points and led 5-2 at the conclusion of a tough game.

A double fault from Duckworth gave Hewitt set point which was saved, but a second set point was converted thanks to a brilliant shot to Duckworth's backhand which was unable to be controlled.  The second set to Hewitt 6-2.

Duckworth came back strongly in the third set, breaking Hewitt in the third game and holding serve in one of the longest games, saving break points and leading 3-1.

Hewitt held firm to just the single break down and it was 4-3 in Duckworth's favour.

Sadly a couple of double faults led to a break of the Duckworth serve in the eighth game and Hewitt then raced to a 5-4 lead.  It was all over effectively and the Duckworth serve fell completely to pieces in the tenth and final game, Hewitt breaking again to win the set and match 7-6 6-2 6-4

He would now play Ferrer in the second round.

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