Schuettler through to semis

Lleyton Hewitt had battled his way through the first two rounds of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Monte Carlo:Lleyton Hewitt had battled his way through the first two rounds of the Monte Carlo Masters, taken to three sets on both occasions by relatively undistinguished opponents. His progress had probably relied more upon his innate combative qualities than anything else. On April 22, though, he knew that a marked improvement would be needed if he was to see off the challenge of the fourth seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany, and progress to the quarter-finals. The first set went Schuettler's way by six games to four. The Australian found his way back in the second set, however. A debatable line call went against Schuettler when he was 2-1 up. To everybody's surprise, he fumbled in his bag, seized a disposable camera and took a picture of the mark as evidence of his good faith. But he received a warning, and appeared to lose his momentum as Hewitt went on to win eight of the next nine games. Having recovered from the loss of the first set and leading 3-1 in the decider, Hewitt looked in command before Schuettler found a second wind. After drawing level at three games all, the German broke to love, and held his advantage from then on. Match-point down, an attempted drop shot from Hewitt found the net, giving Schuettler victory 6-4 3-6 6-4. Hewitt will undoubtedly see the defeat to Schuettler as a lost opportunity. Victory would have given him a quarter-final against Britain's Tim Henman, a player he has beaten in all seven of their previous meetings. But Henman, seeded six, will be facing Schuettler on Friday after battling his way past gutsy Chilean Nicolas Massu 3-6 6-4 6-3. After a poor first set, the Briton regrouped and overcame the ninth seed with some flamboyant strokeplay. Also through to the quarter-finals are Carlos Moya, a straight sets winner over Juan Ignacio Chela, and David Nalbandian. Argentine Nalbandian, playing his first tournament since a six-week injury layoff, crushed Frenchman Fabrice Santoro 6-3 6-2. He will face compatriot Guillermo Coria for a place in the semi-finals. (AP)

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