Hewitt relishing Roddick encounter
LONDON: Lleyton Hewitt believes his Queen's showdown with fellow four-time champion Andy Roddick is the perfect test of his ability to make an impact at Wimbledon.
Roddick and Hewitt have dominated Queen's over the last decade and victory for either in Sunday's final would secure a new record fifth title at the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event.
Such a fascinating match-up would have made a classic final but Hewitt's low 15th seeding has left the Australian facing Roddick, seeded second, in the third round on Thursday.
Hewitt, who showed tremendous grit to defeat Frederico Gil 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday, knows he will be tested to the maximum by Roddick and that is just the way he wants it ahead of the the start of Wimbledon on June 22.
"It's a good test a week or so before a big major like Wimbledon," Hewitt said. "Roddick is always going to be one of the favorites after (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer on grass at Wimbledon.
"He's made a couple of finals there in the past and lost to Roger, so yeah, we both got good records here at Queen's. Hopefully it's a good match."
Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion, could have been forgiven for hoping for an easier draw to allow him more match practice, but he is keen to see how he fares against an opponent he rates as one of the world's best grass-courters.
"It's just a good challenge against one of the best grass court players in the world," he said.
"He's obviously got a big weapon with his serve. He's got a big forehand and he moves well for his size.
"Just playing grass court tennis against a guy like that is going to be a big step up from my first two matches here."
Not for the first time in his career Hewitt had to call on his tremendous reserves of strength and stamina as he was pushed hard by Portuguese teenager Gil.
The 28-year-old was completely out-played as Gil went for his shots in the first set but gradually muscled his way to a three-set win after working out his opponent's gameplan.
"I'd never actually seen him play before. I didn't know what to expect," Hewitt said. "I didn't play my best set of tennis at the start. I just didn't serve well and didn't execute what I needed to do.
"It took me the first set to really understand how he goes about it as well. After the first set I started feeling more comfortable and understood what his strengths and weaknesses were."