Lleyton Hewitt can reach the quarters in Valencia with a win over Ivan Dodig. Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk
It has been a stop-start year for Lleyton Hewitt , but the former world number one appears to be hitting his straps at the tail end of the season. After beating top 40 players Kevin Anderson and Jarkko Nieminen in Stockholm last week - before going down in the quarter-finals to Nicolas Almagro - Hewitt has continued that run of form in the Valencia Open. He knocked out fourth seed, Argentine Juan Monaco, in the first round, denying the world number 10 a chance to qualify for the end of season ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Despite his injury-affected ranking, Hewitt has managed wins this year over Andy Roddick, Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic, so he still has the ability to beat players in the upper echelon of men’s tennis. His opponent in the second round in Valencia is Croatian qualifier Ivan Dodig , in what will be the first meeting between the players.
Dodig is ranked 110, but was as high as 32 just twelve months ago. He comes in to the match in sparkling form after making it through qualifying, before beating German number one Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets in the first round. He has a 55 per cent winning record indoors, compared to an overall winning rate of 45 per cent, so he revels in the controlled conditions undercover.
Hewitt has won the first set in three of his last four matches. In his two victories in Stockholm last week, he lost the second, though, before showing his fighting qualities by winning in three .
At the ATP tournament in Basel, Marinko Matosevic continues his pursuit of Bernard Tomic in the race to be Australia’s number one at year’s end when he takes on Florian Mayer in the Swiss Indoors. The German has had the wood over Australian players of late; in the Davis Cup he easily accounted for both Hewitt and Tomic in straight sets , then annihilated Tomic 6-4, 6-0 in Shanghai earlier this month. He did, however, suffer a surprise first-up loss in Stockholm last week to 95th-ranked Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis after coming back from a rib injury.
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