Paris:Lleyton Hewitt rallied from two sets down for the fourth time in his career on Thursday and beat 2004 champion Gaston Gaudio 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the French Open.
Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam champion, missed two months because of a back injury and returned at the Rome Masters in early May. He broke his Argentine opponent in the third and seventh games of the third set, and then again to open each of the two remaining sets.
"He's got to be one of the toughest second-round players to play," said Hewitt, who lost to Gaudio in the 2004 French Open quarterfinals. "The first two sets he played fantastic."
Two-time defending champion Rafael Nadal also advanced, extending his record at Roland Garros to 16-0. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams won in the women's draw.
Hewitt made 25 unforced errors in the first two sets, but limited that to 19 in the final three. He also had 20 aces, while Gaudio double-faulted 13 times.
"I felt like I had a lot of opportunities to go up a break in the first set," Hewitt said.
The 14th-seeded Australian stayed on course for a fourth-round rematch with Nadal, who wasted little time in beating Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Hewitt lost to the second-ranked Spaniard at the same stage last year.
Hewitt has won the US Open and Wimbledon and reached the final at the Australian Open. He has made the quarterfinals twice at the French Open, the last time losing to eventual champion Gaudio in 2004.
Gaudio, who had reached the third round in Paris for five straight years, has only once won consecutive matches this year.