June 27, 2005

Hewitt moves into quarter-finals

By John Mehaffey

LONDON (Reuters) - Australian number three seed LleytonHewitt overcame the powerful American serve-and-volley exponentTaylor Dent 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-3 Monday to advance to the Wimbledonquarter-finals for the third time.

The 2002 champion was warned for verbal abuse in the secondset and got an adverse line call overturned in the fourth afterprotesting vociferously. He also had angry words for alineswoman who he appeared to think had made a late call.

Otherwise he successfully controlled his emotions during athree-hour workout during another sweltering day on CenterCourt, making some breathtaking recoveries from the baseline,including three exquisite lobs over the advancing Dent.

Dent, whose father Phil finished runner-up to Jimmy Connorsin the 1974 Australian Open, had recorded the fastest serve ofthe first week with a 233.6 kph (146 mph) effort.

His first mission Monday was to get his serve somewherenear Hewitt after successive double-faults gifted theAustralian the opening game.

Hewitt broke again in the third game to go 3-0 up afterbarely 10 minutes before Dent finally began to find his range.

In the eighth game it was Hewitt's turn to double fault asDent broke back and then held his serve to love.

The usually voluble Hewitt, who had been strangely passivein the first half hour, found his voice as he served for theset, shouting "Come on" and punching his fist in the air.


Dent began to find his rhythm in the second set, servingconsecutive aces in the ninth game to narrow the gap to 5-4. Hetook Hewitt to deuce four times in the final game beforesuccumbing.

The third set featured some blistering rallies, with Dentquick to attack Hewitt's sometimes unconvincing second serveand advancing to the net whenever possible. Hewitt counteredwith some skimming backhands and a heavily top-spun forehand asthe set went with serve to 6-6.

Hewitt raced to a 5-3 lead in the tiebreak but then lostfour in a row to send the match in to a fourth set.

Both players broke in the fourth set before a furthercontroversy when a call was changed in the fourth game after acomplaint from Hewitt.

Both players were now hitting the ball with greatintensity, although Hewitt was demonstrating the greaterprecision. He broke Dent in the eighth game and served outcomfortably for the set.

Hewitt, who underwent surgery in March to remove a cystfrom his right foot and missed the French Open after crackingtwo ribs in a fall down the stairs of his Sydney home, said hisgame had moved up a level Monday.

"I think I went up a notch today but it's still a long wayto holding up the trophy," he said. "Taylor Dent is a dangerousplayer. Now you come up against the name players, the realchallengers for the title."

Dent was critical of the decision to change the call in thefinal set.

"I'm not disagreeing with the call," he said. "But that'snot the right signal to send to all the other linesmen around.If Hewitt is going to complain and start to get all thesecalls, that's just unfair advantage for him."

Hewitt disagreed. "The over rule came and Taylor actuallywalked to the other side of the court. It was sort of Taylor'sfault."