Federer, Hewitt set up all-star showdown of Wimbledon champions

June 28th, 2008 - 7:27 am ICT by IANS  

London, June 28 (DPA) Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer defined rain delays as both produced straight-set victories to set up a Monday clash of Wimbledon powerhouse players. Punctual top seed Federer stepped up the tempo after starting 90 minutes late, reaching the fourth round 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 over Marc Gicquel Friday.

Hewitt, the last man to win the All England club title before the current run of five straight from the Swiss, overwhelmed Italian Simone Bolelli 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).

The Australian admits that his task against Federer to begin week two will be huge.

“You always want to test yourself against the best. He’s owned this tournament for the last five years and I won it six years ago.

“If you want to win, it’s pretty certain you have to get my him. I look forward to the challenge.”

It was a case of deja vu for Hewitt against Bolelli.

“I played him in the second round last year on the same court, Hewitt said of his win over Bolelli in around two hours. “I knew what to expect.

“But he’s gotten a hell of a lot better in a years. I was ready for a tough match,” the Australian said.

Both men will have two days off due to the classic Wimbledon policy of not playing on the middle Sunday out of deference to their suburban neighbors in the toney SW19 district.

Hewitt, battling a hip problem this season, last beat Federer 11 matches ago in 2003.

“It will be nice to get a couple of days off this weekend,” said Federer, barely tested as he aims for a sixth straight trophy at the event he loves.

“I haven’t lost a set so far but it gets tougher against more experienced players now. I want to just keep the game where it is now,” Federer said. The top seed and the 53rd-ranked Frenchman Gicquel pair traded breaks in the first two games before Federer settled to begin his domination in a contest which progressed at the rate of 30-minutes per set.

Federer clocked his 62nd consecutive victory on grass on his first match point as Gicquel, 32, a late bloomer who didn’t decide on a tennis career until age 24 and who first reached the top 100 only three years ago, returned long.

“It was difficult conditions and a tricky opponent,” said Federer, 41-4 at Wimbledon. “He plays aggressive and takes big cuts at the ball.

“I had to rally after losing the first game but I played well throughout and I’m happy to go through into the second week.”

Hewitt, 27th, called his effort against number 46 Bolelli “a pretty good win.

“I got off to good start, and played exactly how I wanted to play. I executed the game plan perfectly. I’m happy to get away in straight sets.”

Russian women’s seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anna Chakvetadze with shrugged off rain delays to advance, as did Czech Nicole Vaidisova, continuing to snap out of a spring slump by beating Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-4.

The Czech, a 2007 quarter-finalist, claimed her second Aussie victim after beating samantha Stosur in the second round.

Vaidisova held the lead 6-2, 4-3 when the rain arrived but returned to the court to finish off the victory.

Fourth seed Kuznetsova beat Czech Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-4 while Chakvetadze, the number eight, stopped compatriot Evgeniya Rodina 6-4, 6-3. dpa bs jb

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