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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Hewitt fights back to beat Gaudio
Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt took nearly three and a half hours to seal victory
Lleyton Hewitt produced a typically gritty display to recover from two sets down to beat former champion Gaston Gaudio in the French Open second round.

The 14th seed won 4-6 3-6 6-2 6-4 6-2 to book his place in the third round.

Gaudio showed glimpses of the form which won him the title in 2004 as he took the first two sets, firing a series of spectacular backhand winners.

But he wilted dramatically and Hewitt pounced, delivering an impressive 20 aces on his way to victory.

The Australian, who next faces Jarkko Nieminen, is on course for a last 16 meeting with Rafael Nadal, who posted a routine 6-2 6-1 6-4 win over Flavio Cipolla on Thursday.


Nadal completely outclassed his Italian opponent in the first two sets but Cipolla, the world number 227, put up some brave resistance in the third.

However, the defending champion managed to establish an early break before closing out victory in under two hours.

Nadal's third-round opponent will be Albert Montanes of Spain or Latvia's Ernests Gulbis.

Hewitt said he had to be patient against his inconsistent opponent.

"You don't know really what you'll get from him. He's such a great shot-maker," said Hewitt.

"At first he played fantastically. I didn't feel like I played that poorly out there.

"I knew that he was going to have ups and downs and it was a matter of me not having those downs at any point."

I don't know if I can turn it around

Gaston Gaudio

Gaudio, now ranked 72 in the world after reaching a high of five, was cruising at two sets to love up but he never recovered from dropping serve at 1-1 in the third set - his three double faults gifting Hewitt the game.

The 28-year-old Argentine hinted before the tournament that this could be his last French Open and, after losing his way so spectacularly against Hewitt, he was downbeat.

"Everybody knows this year is one of the worst in my entire career," said Gaudio.

"If you play well, you can have a lot of confidence. It would have been very positive for me to have won the match.

"You get some confidence when you win matches. Now I don't know if I can turn it around."

Elsewhere on Thursday, sixth seed Novak Djokovic needed four sets to see off the lowest ranked player in the tournament before making it into round three.

The Serb won the first set against qualifier Laurent Recouderc fairly easily before the Frenchman won four games in a row to take the second set.

Djokovic looked rattled but held his nerve to secure a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-1 and for a place in the third round.

His next opponent will be France's Olivier Patience, who beat Mariano Zabaleta 7-5 6-3 3-6 2-6 6-4.

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