By Ann Liguori
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Top seed Novak Djokovic is flying around in his own stratosphere. He hasn’t dropped a set the entire tournament and dominated Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, winning the first 25 points of the match on his serve and only giving up six points the entire last set.
Djokovic, who is vying for his fourth straight final, having won in 2011, finds himself through to the quarterfinals and has yet to break a sweat. He’ll next play Mikhail Youzhny, the 21st-seeded Russia, who ended Lleyton Hewitt’s magical journey down memory lane.
Hewitt should have won the epic five-setter. He was up two to one in sets and was serving for the match in the fifth, up 5-3. But Youzhny came up with the goods, won 100 percent of his net points in the fifth set and closed it out, 7-5. The score: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-5.
Hewitt’s story is quite amazing. The 2001 US Open champ has had multiple foot surgeries and doctors told him his career was over. But he found a doctor who was able to do a successful surgery in 2012, and the rest is … well … inspirational, if not amazing!
His effort against Youzhny, even though he lost, was matched by his five-set victory in the second round when he ousted former US Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 6-1 in another four-hour plus marathon.
Every time the Aussie goes out on the court you know he’s going to leave it all out there!
“Oh, it’s obviously great, you know,” Hewitt said, “to come into the tournament and have a tough draw, in the second round playing a quality player. To get through that match and then to bounce back, and it was always going to be hard physically to keep coming out match after match, In the second round, that obviously took a lot out of me to get through del Potro.
And, then, yeah, every match was going to get tougher and tougher from there on.
“I fought my way through the third round, and obviously I could have gone either way today. It obviously gives me a lot of confidence. It would have been great to have won today. As I said earlier, I left it all out there this whole week.”
With Hewitt out, some of the fizzle may be gone, as his story was compelling.
And even though we won’t have that Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer quarterfinal match, which would have been the first time that these two great rivals have ever met at the US Open, the big three left — Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray — will surely made this US Open most compelling coming down the stretch.
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