Timely boost for regal Federer as Hewitt is swept aside

Twelve months ago Roger Federer was given a fourth round walk-over as an injury to scheduled opponent Tommy Haas afforded him a long weekend off and enough leisure time to fit in a trip to the barber’s.

The scale of his fortune may have differed yesterday but the finger of Wimbledon fate was pointing at the great one just as assuredly.

Scroll down for more


Ace: Federer fires down another superb serve

Federer produced an impeccable display of serving to ease past Lleyton Hewitt 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 but this was not the Hewitt who once lorded over men’s tennis himself.

The 2002 champion has been slowed by a troublesome hip and, though his peskiness remains undimmed, a terrier of a player cannot quite catch up with as many ankles to snap as in the past.

What really made Federer’s day, however, was that the match to decide his quarter-final opponent tomorrow lasted for three hours 48 minutes under a scorching sun. The fifth set alone took 94 minutes.

Mario Ancic and Fernando Verdasco battered each other to a standstill before the Croat completed a remarkable 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 13-11 comeback victory. Talk about the cosmic tumblers all falling in place once more for King Roger.

Scroll down for more


Dejected: Hewitt was outclassed by the Swiss star

Federer strolled out on Centre Court an hour later than Ancic had fought his way through the crowds to Court 11 — and strolled back to the locker room more than an hour before Ancic scudded a final ace past a dejected Verdasco, whose father Jose wept openly in the players’ box.

Then again, Federer does not believe in either luck or sympathy. Gentleman off the court, icy assassin on it. Asked whether he felt for Hewitt, who winced visibly at times, the world No 1 smiled his affable smile and delivered a cruel response.

He said: ‘I feel bad for him that he’s injured. Bad for him for a split second. But he was still dangerous. He had break points in the third set. All of a sudden maybe he wouldn’t feel the hip that much if the adrenaline had started. But by beating him, not in any way, no, do I feel bad.’

Only once did Federer falter in one hour 49 minutes of smoothness. Holding set points in the first set tiebreak, he became uncharacteristically hesitant, sending one forehand long and another wide.

At 7-7, he suckered Hewitt into the old rope-a-dope trick, slicing a backhand short, drawing Hewitt into the net and then flashing a backhand down the line. An ace — one of 21 he sent down in total — sealed an advantage which was never about to be squandered.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now