Hewitt beats Federer to claim seventh grass court title
Lleyton Hewitt produced a brilliant comeback to beat Roger Federer 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-4 in the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Germany.
It marks Hewitt’s seventh grass court title and brings to an end a dismal run of 15 straight defeats against Federer with the Australian last having enjoyed success over his Swiss opponent in 2003.
“It’s fantastic,” said Hewitt afterwards. “Roger’s a hell of an opponent; his grass-court record speaks for itself. Any time you play Roger on a grass court you know you’re in for a hell of a battle and I was lucky to get out of today’s match.”
The 29-year-old dropped the first set after Federer secured the vital break in the sixth game. It appeared normal service had resumed for the six-time Wimbledon champion following last week’s quarter-final exit against Robin Soderling at Roland Garros.
Federer held a 0-40 lead on Hewitt’s fifth service game of the second set but Hewitt defied the odds and fought back to deuce, eventually holding serve and winning the set in a tense tiebreak.
The 2002 Wimbledon champion continued to apply pressure to Federer’s game and secured an early break at the start of the decisive set.
Hewitt was forced to serve for his 98th victory on a grass court at 5-4 and despite allowing Federer to seize a 0-30 lead, the tenacious counter-puncher fought back and claimed victory on the first match-point.
Despite showing patchy form, Federer remains optimistic of defending his Wimbledon crown then the All England Championships begin next week.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing,” said Federer. “It’s unfortunate not coming through today, but I think my level of play is fine.”
“This loss here doesn’t worry me in any way. So, I’m excited about next week. And I thought it was a good tournament.”