NICOLAS MAHUT- IVO KARLOVIC
We are already on Roddick outright and today could be tough, with both players looking for a record breaking fifth win at the venue. It is hard to recall now, that Hewitt was dominant on the surface for a couple of years and to be honest,it seems like a lifetime ago. His best years are almost a decade back , last year was the first that he did not win a tournament in ten years and he ended 2008, by having surgery on his hip. He is clearly in the twilight of his career and not many fellow pros will mourn his eventual passing, as the Aussie is often discribed as being friendless on tour.
Hewitt has played 12 tournaments in 2009 and only got past the third round twice, losing to Roddick in the 4th round in Memphis and winning in Houston, however, that was a pretty poor event, played on US clay and the Australian didn't meet a top 50 ranked player and only one above 86. He really struggles to deal with the modern power game and despite trying to "bulk up", nothing has really worked in that regard, maybe he needs some tips from his sister, who is a now a bodybuilder, after trying her luck on the WTA (see photograph and the family resemblance).
I expect Roddick to progress today and will take a little on him to do so in straight sets. The number two seed has won the last three h2h meetings and also their only previous meeting on grass, which came here in 2004. Roddick has worked very hard on his fitness over the winter and has attempted to get back (successfully) to the weight he was when winning the 2003 US Open, this was the first demand put on Roddick by his current coach Larry Stefanki and the 26yo has shown great determination to do so and the benefits are there for all to see. We discussed his current form on Monday, so no point in going over all ground. First set will doubtless be tough, Hewitt still fights like a Jack Russell terrier, but once that is in the bag, it should be plain sailing.
5 points Roddick to win 2-0 in sets 1.83 + general quote.... bigger on the exchanges.