Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Nadal v Hewitt as it happened

French Open Fourth round result:


6-3 6-1 7-6 (7-5)


By Caroline Cheese

Third set

Nadal 6-3 6-1 7-6 (7-5) Hewitt
Hewitt has his chances in a tense tiebreak. He twice leads by a mini-break and at 5-4, he belts a forehand return right into the corner. Nadal scrambles it back but it bounces high and invitingly for Hewitt – who can only find the net. The Aussie holds his hands to his head and Nadal goes on to clinch it.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 6-6 Hewitt
Nerves from Nadal and the crowd are loving this now. Hewitt plays a brilliant first point, finishing it with a forehand winner and goes on to earn three break points. He wastes the first two but takes the third after a tension-filled rally when Nadal goes long. Tiebreak time.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 6-5 Hewitt
A brilliantly worked point from Nadal brings up two break points. Hewitt saves the first but nets a forehand on the second and the Aussie is on the brink now.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 5-5 Hewitt
Hewitt is actually laughing out loud as yet another Nadal groundstroke dips onto the line. A fourth ace wraps up the game and this is an absorbing contest now.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 4-5 Hewitt
It’s just like playing on grass, not a sniff of a break. Hewitt’s really got the crowd behind him now and wife Bec Cartwright gives him an extra cheer and a wave just for good measure.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 4-4 Hewitt
Well, Nadal is human, I can report. At 30-0, he fires down a first serve, gets to the net for the easy put-away – and sticks his drive volley hopelessly into the net. Good to see.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 3-4 Hewitt
Hewitt holds to 30. This is an impressive recovery from the Aussie. Most other players would be on the plane by now.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 3-3 Hewitt
Nadal gets a huge cheer when he catches the ball on his racket. Show-off. Aggressive game from the Spaniard who looks like he’s ready to seize the moment.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 2-3 Hewitt
Hewitt’s serve is now firing and he holds to love. Meanwhile, Igor Andreev is now two sets to one up against Marcos Baghdatis.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 2-2 Hewitt
Nadal finishes off the game with an emphatic smash, but at least he’s not having it all his own way now.

“That was Hewitt’s best game of the match so far, serving well and getting a good hit on the second ball.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 6-3 6-1 1-2 Hewitt
Hewitt’s giving his forehand a bit of juice and it’s making Nadal look a bit slow. Good hold – especially after that last game.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 1-1 Hewitt
Heartbreaking for Hewitt as on break point, Nadal’s backhand lands perilously close to the line. The rally continues, Nadal wins it and when Hewitt goes back to check the line, the ball turns out to be wide. Too late now.

Nadal 6-3 6-1 0-1 Hewitt
Hewitt takes the game by driving a forehand almost on the half-volley onto the baseline. It’s the sort of miraculous shot he needs to see off Nadal today.

Second set

“There’s nothing for Hewitt to grab hold of at the moment. He’s just getting whitewashed in every department. But Hewitt will keep believing that Nadal’s level will drop, and when it does he’ll be there to take advantage. With most other people I’d say this match is over, but not with Hewitt.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 6-3 6-1 Hewitt
Just to rub it in a bit, Nadal gets to the net and executes a Federer-like drop volley. A love game and Nadal is cruising.

Nadal 6-3 5-1 Hewitt
It’s relentless from Nadal. Hewitt is working so, so hard for every point but the Spaniard is just too good.

Nadal 6-3 4-1 Hewitt
Nadal sees off a break point by charging to the net behind a huge first serve and putting away a smash. That’s got to be demoralising for Hewitt.

Nadal 6-3 3-1 Hewitt
Hewitt just seems a bit slow to react today. During that game, he seemed to shape to play a forehand before suddenly realising he needed to play a backhand. Very odd.

Nadal 6-3 3-1 Hewitt
BBC analyst John Lloyd reckons Rafael Nadal is superstitious. Well, so would you be if you’d won 17 straight matches at Roland Garros. The Spaniard drags his foot across the baseline and checks both socks before receiving serve – and then breaks to love. See, it works.

Nadal 6-3 2-1 Hewitt
Funny old match going on on Lenglen Court. Baghdatis takes the first set 6-2, Andreev takes the second 6-1. Nothing so unpredictable about this match though. Nadal holds.

Nadal 6-3 1-1 Hewitt
Hewitt draws level with a battling hold.

Nadal 6-3 1-0 Hewitt
Hewitt hits a backhand and yells “get over” at the ball. It does as asked, but not before clipping the net, which sends it into the tramlines. Solid Nadal serving again. The Spaniard has won 70% of points off his first serve.

First set

“When Nadal is playing this well, Hewitt has to play at his peak point after point. He just doesn’t quite have the weapons to do that.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 6-3 Hewitt
That’s disappointing if you’re a Hewitt fan. Having worked so hard to break for the first time in the previous game, the Aussie makes a catalogue of errors to gift Nadal the set.

Nadal 5-3 Hewitt
It’s getting interesting. Nadal quickly earns three set points but Hewitt saves all three with some high-risk hitting from the baseline. He whips a forehand winner cross-court to stay in the set.

Nadal 5-2 Hewitt
Typical battling from Hewitt who recovers from 0-30 to take the next four points.

“I see Hewitt’s decided to give Nadal a head-start. Who says Aussies aren’t sporting?”
King_of_the_Biscuits on 606

Nadal 5-1 Hewitt
Not much Hewitt can do if Nadal is belting down aces. The Spaniard is serving brilliantly. Hewitt gets back to 40-30 from 40-0 but makes a backhand error to give Nadal the game.

“One thing Hewitt is very good at is adapting his gameplan during a match. He’ll do anything within his power to get back into a match. Let’s see what he can do on the Nadal serve.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 4-1 Hewitt
A love game and Hewitt is on the board at last.

Nadal 4-0 Hewitt
The supposed match of the day is turning into a whitewash. The crowd have gone quiet and it’s all a bit uncomfortable to watch.

Nadal 3-0 Hewitt
Hewitt is trying to force things but it’s only resulting in mistakes. The French crowd are starting to feel a bit sorry for the Aussie already, which must be a bit humiliating.

Nadal 2-0 Hewitt
Nadal is right on his game already, powering a backhand cross court with such heavy topspin, it dips onto the line. He holds to 15.

Nadal 1-0 Hewitt
Oh dear, not a very good start for Hewitt. The Aussie doesn’t seem to have found his timing and Nadal just has to keep his length to secure the break first up.

1437: Hewitt hasn’t made a great start in his last two matches. He had to come back from two sets down against Gaston Gaudio and lost the first set 6-1 against Jarkko Nieminen. He’ll serve first here.

1434: “I don’t think Hewitt will win more than a set” reckons The Nameless One on BBC Sport’s 606 and I have to agree. And for the good of this match, it’s got to be the first one.

1425: Just as the crowd begin a slow hand clap, Hewitt and Nadal appear. As the Spaniard bobs about in the background like a boxer preparing for battle, Hewitt speaks to local television. “I’m going to try to stay with him early,” says the Aussie. “I feel pretty good. It’s going to be a grinding match. Hopefully I’m ready for it.”

1423: For once, Chatrier Court is nearly full as we await the players. The Parisians must have had an early lunch.

1416: Those of you sniffing an upset aujourd’hui should bear in mind that Nadal’s wins against Hewitt were both on clay. However, the Aussie gave Nadal a scare in the Hamburg semis last month when he took the first set before going down 2-6 6-3 7-5.

1411: The court attendants are out watering the court as we wait for Nadal and Hewitt to arrive. These two feisty fellas have played six times, with Hewitt winning on four occasions.

Story from BBC SPORT:


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