Lleyton Hewitt's run ends
Lleyton Hewitt's excellent US Open run ended in heartbreak as the former champion lost in five sets to Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round.
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The Australian, the champion in New York 12 years ago, had rolled back the years with a stunning win over Juan Martin del Potro and looked set to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final for four years.
Hewitt led 4-1 in the fourth set only for Youzhny to win six straight games and lead by a break in the decider.
Back came 32-year-old Hewitt to lead 5-2 but he played a poor game serving for the match and Youzhny reeled off five straight games to clinch a 6-3 3-6 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 7-5 victory after three hours and 58 minutes.
Youzhny is only a year younger than Hewitt but the two veterans covered every inch of Louis Armstrong court, with the crowd being treated to some stunning rallies.
The Russian is a consistent performer at Grand Slams and has twice reached the semi-finals at the US Open - in 2006, when he beat Rafael Nadal, and 2010.
Hewitt was philosophical in defeat, saying: "Obviously it could have gone either way. There were a lot of momentum changes right from the start.
"It was hard for both of us to hold our serves at times. In the end, he played the big games when he needed to. He didn't give me too many cheap errors.
"It's obviously disappointing to lose but I left it all out there. There's not a whole heap more I could have done."
Hewitt's disappointment was certainly tempered by satisfaction at the way he is playing.
The Australian underwent radical toe surgery on his left foot at the start of last year that numerous surgeons had told him would finish his career.
Instead of giving in, he found a surgeon who believed he could play again and has been working hard to rediscover something like his old form.
Hewitt said: "It's obviously great to come into the tournament and have a tough draw in the second round playing a quality player.
"To get through that match and then to bounce back - and it was always going to be hard physically to keep coming out match after match, because in the second round that obviously took a lot out of me to get through Del Potro.
"I fought my way through the third round. It obviously gives me a lot of confidence. It would have been great to have won."
Youzhny hailed the manner of his victory as a real shot in the arm.
The Russian 21st seed said: "Of course I'm happy because I've played many matches against Lleyton and I had beaten him only once.
"I know that he's a great player and he's a great fighter who is fighting for every point in every match.
"For me, the way that I beat him today, it's really important."