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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 11:27 GMT
Federer passes Hewitt test
Roger Federer plays a backhand in his match against Lleyton Hewitt
Roger Federer reached his first Australian Open quarter-final by ending the challenge of home hero Lleyton Hewitt in four sets.

The second seed survived an early Hewitt barrage to rediscover his rhythm and seal a 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-4 victory.

Hewitt started as if intent on celebrating Australia Day in style as his aggressive approach blunted Federer's fluency.

But the Wimbledon champion responded superbly to book a last-eight appointment with the in-form David Nalbandian.

Federer was frustrated early on as Hewitt broke his serve in the opening game of the match and held onto his own to take the first set.

My goal is to go further, not just to beat Lleyton
Roger Federer
But the momentum switched in the sixth game of the second set as Hewitt was called for a harsh foot fault, losing his serve for the first time.

Federer took full advantage to level the match and as his game improved, the errors flowed from Hewitt as he failed to win a game in the third set.

"Maybe I got a little lucky with that foot-fault call, but I still felt like I started to play better and better," Federer said. "I was playing much more aggressive."

Hewitt, to his credit, refused to blame the poor call for his defeat.

"It's obviously disappointing when you hit an ace and get a foot-fault called," he said.

"I still wouldn't have won the match. I ran into a guy who was too good for me tonight."

The Australian, previously unbeaten this year, did emerge from his slump in the fourth set to raise the hopes of a partisan home crowd.

But Federer broke his dogged opponent to go 3-2 up and held his serve and his nerve to clinch an impressive victory.

He also banished the memories of his demoralising Davis Cup final defeat to Hewitt - from two sets up - on the same Rod Laver Arena court last September.

"Big revenge, yeah, this is very big for me and my career," Federer added after only his third win in 11 meetings with the former world number one.

"I'm chasing number one (ranking) in this tournament this year and it's me the bad guy (to Aussie fans) who has put Lleyton out of the draw.

"But my goal is to go further, not just to beat Lleyton. Tomorrow I've got to forget what happened tonight and start from zero again."



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