Battling Hewitt scraps way to milestone 600th career win

Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:23pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - Lleyton Hewitt's 600th win looked very much like every other of his ATP Tour career as the Australian battler scraped his way past Robin Haase 3-6 6-3 6-3 in the first round of the Sony Open on Thursday.

In a testament to his tenacity, Hewitt became just the third active player to achieve the milestone, joining an elite group that includes two of the all-time greats, Roger Federer (937) and Rafa Nadal (674).

"Today was just like another match and an opportunity to go out there and play well," Hewitt told reporters. "Obviously afterwards, you know, a great milestone.

"Not many people get to achieve that. Not many people get the opportunity to get close to that, so it means I have been around for an awfully long time, as well.

"I'm getting old."

While Hewitt may have lost a step and his groundstrokes are not quite as ferocious, the 33-year-old has lost none of his combativeness, and it was on full display for a sun-kissed centre court.

After dropping the opening set and down a break 3-1 in the second, Hewitt, his trademark baseball cap turned backwards on his head, summoned his famous grit to sweep the next five games and level the match.

In the third, with Haase on the ropes, Hewitt delivered the knockout punch with another four-game run, sealing the match with a cheeky lob, a fist-pump and his hands raised in the air in triumph.   Continued...

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia returns to Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco during their match at the U.S. Open in Flushing, New York, September 4, 2002. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque