Soderling survives dramatic 5-set Hewitt test
Updated: 2011-06-24 14:47
Robin Soderling of Sweden celebrates defeating Lleyton Hewitt of Australia at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 23, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Lleyton Hewitt of Australia takes a tumble during his match against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 23, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
* Two-set lead for Hewitt evaporates
LONDON - For two sets Robin Soderling gave Lleyton Hewitt a gilt-edged opportunity to spring a major Wimbledon upset without even having to call on his copious reserves of heart and guts.
But the Swede remembered he was the world's fifth-best player in the nick of time, denying the Australian former champion a third-round place with a 6-7 3-6 7-5 6-4 6-4 victory in nearly four hours under the Centre Court roof on Thursday.
Soderling had never previously won from two-sets down but he said he did not panic at any stage.
"I knew if I could raise my game after the first two sets I had a good chance," Soderling told reporters.
"Of course it's tough. I never came back from two sets to love down before in my career. I think I was a little bit unlucky to not win the first set.
"You just have to start over, like trying to take one point at a time and see it as a new match, there's still a chance to win."
The final outcome looked highly unlikely in the first two sets as Soderling reeled off a succession of unforced errors and Hewitt played tidy and consistent tennis.
Roared on by a pocket of loyal green-and-gold clad fans who sang a hearty rendition of "Advance Australia Fair" as the players warmed up, Hewitt only needed the occasional trademark cry of "C'mon" and mini fist pump to take control of the match.
Soderling, twice French Open runner-up and Wimbledon quarter-finalist last year, looked completely out-of-sorts, lacking any fire or passion and struggling badly with his game.
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