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Another Grand Slam champion couldn’t win a match that went the distance. Lleyton Hewitt, making a rousing run at age 32, was two points from victory but fell 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5 to Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round.
Hewitt won the 2001 U.S. Open title but is currently 66th after a series of foot and hip injuries. The 21st-seeded Youzhny is a two-time semifinalist at Flushing Meadows.
The 31-year-old Russian will face the winner of Tuesday’s match between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 43rd-ranked Marcel Granollers. Defending U.S. Open champ Andy Murray also plays Tuesday night, against unseeded Denis Istomin.
Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champ, insisted she’s not concerned by two straight slow starts. She also lost the first set in the third round to 26th-seeded Alize Cornet before rallying for a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 win.
She’s gotten into it with the chair umpire in two straight matches as well. On Tuesday, it was over Ivanovic being awarded a winner, instead of the two replaying the point, after a delayed out call was overturned in the first set.
Azarenka looked sluggish after a late-morning start and didn’t make her first winner until the sixth game. But Ivanovic has often wilted under pressure since her lone Grand Slam title more than five years ago; she hasn’t been back to a major semifinal since.
Azarenka started winning points on drops shots — she said she’s always had that in her repertoire but just hadn’t need them much before.
There were five straight breaks to open the second set. After Ivanovic double-faulted on break point for the second straight service game, Azarenka finally held to lead 4-2.
The start of the third set was much of the same. Azarenka held in the first game, then there were four straight breaks.
Azarenka preferred to joke about the two players’ serving struggles: "I think we’re just great returners."
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