Hewitt upsets Del Potro
A review of the men's action on day five of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
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Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt rolled back the years to dump sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro out of the US Open.
Del Potro had appeared to be a major obstacle in Novak Djokovic's path to the semi-finals and was tipped by many pundits as the man most likely to challenge the leading trio of the Serb, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
But on an exciting night on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, he ran into an inspired Hewitt, who fought back from two sets to one down to win 6-4 5-7 3-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-1 in four hours and three minutes.
It was a battle of former champions but, while Hewitt's victory came back in 2001, Del Potro has appeared close to recapturing the form that brought him his first grand slam title in 2009.
The Argentinian nearly upset Djokovic in the semi-finals at Wimbledon only to lose a thrilling five-setter.
He looked to have taken a decisive stranglehold on the match when he won the third set after Hewitt had earlier served for a two-set lead.
The 32-year-old served for the fourth set as well, but did not let the disappointment of losing that game affect him as he played what he later described as "one of the the best tie-breaks of my life".
Del Potro had been pushed hard by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round and he could not handle the energy and brilliance of Hewitt in the fifth set, with the Argentinian double-faulting on the second match point.
Hewitt, now ranked 66th, has played some vintage stuff in patches in recent years but has not been beyond the fourth round at a grand slam since Wimbledon in 2009.
The Australian, who next meets Russian Evgeny Donskoy, said: "I was pumped up when I won my first-round match because I knew I would be playing Del Potro and it was a great opportunity to play on Ashe.
"I don't know how many years I've got left in me, I keep getting asked that question. I just wanted to get out here and put on a great show.
"A couple of years ago I had a couple of foot surgeries and I didn't know if I would play tennis again. For me to be out here competing, it's a lot of fun. This is why I still play, to have moments like this."
Djokovic had earlier posted a straight-sets win over Benjamin Becker on Friday - but not before saving two first-set points.
The world number one faced two set points in the opener but the German could not take advantage and Djokovic prevailed 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes.
The match went with serve before a double fault brought up break point for Becker in the ninth game and the Serb went long to give his opponent the chance to serve for the first set.
Djokovic moved to break point but he failed to convert and instead faced two set points - the first Becker netted following a fierce return from the Serb and then he inexplicably fired wide after moving his opponent around.
It was Djokovic's turn to move to break point again, this time taking advantage as a backhand return by Becker just failed to clear the net.
Becker levelled to send the set into a tie-break which - in contrast to what went before - was dominated by Djokovic who won it 7-2.
He didn't look back.
Djokovic, who appeared to struggle with his breathing in the first set, just as he did in the early part of his career, said: "It was a struggle. It was different conditions from the first match, and I knew that he's a dangerous player. If he serves well and a high percentage, he can be a dangerous player. He's very solid from the baseline.
"Obviously his movement is not as good anymore as it was, so I tried to move him around the court and open the court. That was my tactic.
"But it was very tough. There were a lot of unforced errors, very windy conditions. You couldn't really read and kind of predict where the ball was going to go, so you have to be very alert. At the start I had difficulty with my footwork.
"But I won the set and after that it was much, much better.
"I need to start the way I started in the first match, but my game is getting there. I feel that it was a big test for me today. It was a challenge, and I needed to overcome it. I'm glad I'm through in three."
Djokovic will play Joao Sousa in the last 32, the Portuguese having beaten Jarkko Nieminen in what was his second successive five-setter.
It was a similar story for Tomas Berdych - the fifth seed won in straight sets but was pushed along the way by American Denis Kudla.
Berdych led by a break in each of the first two sets only to be forced to a tie-break on both occasions.
However, he held his nerve in the breakers and eventually emerged a 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 winner.
He will next meet Julien Benneteau.
Ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka saw off 6ft 10in Ivo Karlovic 7-5 7-6 (10/8) 6-4, while Marcos Baghdatis put his miserable form this year behind him to upset 17th seed Kevin Anderson.
Other seeded players Tommy Haas and Mikhail Youzhny eased through to the third round.
Both men posted straight-sets win early on day five to set up a meeting in the last 32.
Twelfth seed Haas recorded a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu.
Youzhny's victory was an impressive one - he saw off the dangerous Alexandr Dolgopolov, winning 7-5 6-1 6-3.