Lleyton Hewitt tops Baghdatis, advances in Memphis
The No. 3 seed leads the career series with Baghdatis 3-2, winning their first match since 2010 when Baghdatis had to withdraw with an injured shoulder. Hewitt won his 29th career title in Brisbane earlier this year. He needed 91 minutes to finally beat Baghdatis for the first time outside of Australia and continue his strong start this year.
"Marcos, he's always a tough competitor, and I think on this style of court suits his style of game as well," Hewitt said. "He hits the ball hard and flat out there, and if he's making a lot of first serves it's not easy. I just sort of bide my time out there and took my chances. Had to fight hard early in the second set to hold serve and got a bit of momentum after that."
Hewitt will play American Michael Russell on Friday. Ivo Karlovic of Croatia beat second-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the night's final match serving up 19 aces and losing only six points off his serve. He will play American Jack Sock.
Earlier Thursday, qualifier Alex Kuznetsov upset eighth-seeded Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1) to reach his first ATP Tour quarterfinal. He will play fourth-seeded Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan, who beat American qualifier Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Baghdatis had the benefit of an opening match here in Memphis, while Hewitt had a bye. Baghdatis also opened the match serving well with four aces, and he broke Hewitt in back-to-back games to go up 5-1 and serve out for the first set.
Then Hewitt settled down and faced only one more break point in the final two sets. That came in the first game of the second set, and the former No. 1 took advantage of Baghdatis double-faulting four times and struggling with his serve. Baghdatis said he was very aggressive early.
"After having a break point in the first game of the second set, I stopped playing, stopped playing aggressive and he started getting to points and rallies with him," Baghdatis said. "He was dictating the rallies and basically that's it. That's all. Couldn't get back to where I started from."
Hewitt said he needed a bit of time to adjust in his first match at The Racquet Club. He also started mixing up his serve as well.
"He was taking a swipe at all of my serves early on so I just had to find a way to hang in there more than anything," Hewitt said. "Just the pace of the court, the ball, just try and find that rhythm out there."
Kuznetsov, who turned pro in 2004 and just turned 27, finally won the seventh match of his career in his 38th match. Kuznetsov needed 2 hours, 2 minutes for his win. He upset Kukushkin by serving up 15 aces.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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