Hewitt battles past Wawrinka in Cincinnati

Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:23pm EDT

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia serves to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their quarterfinal match at the Montreal Masters tennis tournament August 10, 2007. Hewitt battled past Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-5 3-6 7-6 in a grueling first-round match at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday. REUTERS/Shaun Best

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia serves to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their quarterfinal match at the Montreal Masters tennis tournament August 10, 2007. Hewitt battled past Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-5 3-6 7-6 in a grueling first-round match at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday.

Credit: Reuters/Shaun Best

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Simon Cambers

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt battled past Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-5 3-6 7-6 in a first-round match at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday.

The Australian let slip a 3-0 lead in the deciding set and had to save four break points in the seventh game before squeezing through in just under three hours.

"I'm a little bit relieved," Hewittt said in a courtside interview. "He obviously played a great match, really took it to me and I was lucky to get through in the end."

Hewitt won a first set that included five breaks of serve before world number 49 Wawrinka hit back to level the match and then recovered from 3-0 down to 3-3 and force 0-40 on the Australian's serve.

But Hewitt held serve and then snatched the tiebreak 7-5 to set up a clash against eighth seed Richard Gasquet of France.

French qualifier Julien Benneteau set up a clash with top seed Roger Federer by beating Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, the runner-up to Andy Roddick last year, recovered from a break down in the final set to beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-1 3-6 7-5.

Ferrero will play sixth seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in round two.

Ninth seed James Blake beat Alejandro Falla, of Colombia, 7-6 6-1 to reach the second round.

The American showed no signs of the abdominal strain that forced him to pull out in Montreal last week, snatching the first-set tiebreak 7-5 before easing through the second.

Andy Murray, the 14th seed, was beaten 6-1 6-2 by Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in the first round.

The Briton, in only his second tournament back after a 12-week absence because of a right wrist injury, struggled with his whole game and was beaten in just 48 minutes.

Despite the loss, Murray said the injury was improving.

"I'm not feeling any pain any more, so I guess I am 100 percent," he said. "I didn't move well today -- hopefully the more matches I play and more I'm around the best players I'll start moving better."

Fifteenth seed Guillermo Canas was another casualty, going down 6-2 6-2 to fellow Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.

Czech Radek Stepanek, a semi-finalist in Montreal, beat American Mardy Fish 7-5 7-6, while Frenchman Arnaud Clement and American Robby Ginepri also advanced to round two.

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