Hewitt beats Karlovic to win 30th career title
(Reuters) - Ageing warrior Lleyton Hewitt claimed the 30th title of his career when he downed towering Croat Ivo Karlovic in the final of the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport on Sunday.
Australian Hewitt, who famously lost to Karlovic in the first round of Wimbledon as defending champion in 2003, edged a grasscourt battle between the two tour veterans 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(3) in two-and-a-half hours.
“I felt relief to have finally won here,” Hewitt, who won the Newport final in his third successive bid, told reporters.
“For me, I’ve come here the last three years and have come awfully close the last two years. It’s nice to be rewarded today.”
The 33-year-old has now won eight grasscourt titles, second only to Roger Federer amongst active players and is one of only four current players to have 30 career titles.
But he did it the hard way, squandering two match points on serve in the second set, before Karlovic broke and subsequently took the tie-break.
The scene was a virtual carbon copy of Hewitt’s runnerup finish last year, when the 2002 Wimbledon champion served for the match at 5-4 in the second before losing.
The Australian got off to a slow start in the third set, but saved three break points. The pair held serve until the tie-break, and Hewitt converted on his third match point.
“We had tough conditions today, especially for serving,” Hewitt said of the gusty winds. “I was just trying to play clean tennis as much as possible. From the baseline I was able to adjust to (the) wind better than him.” Continued...