Hewitt, Federer cruise to quarters

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/L/Lleytonhewitt.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt advanced to the quarter-finals of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam on Thursday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Stepping up his bid to end an 11-month title drought, Lleyton Hewitt took on Sweden's Thomas Johansson on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam. Johansson, competing in only his fourth top-flight ATP tournament since missing the entire 2003 season through injury, matched Hewitt shot for shot in the first set as the players exchanged four breaks before the tiebreak. Hewitt eventually bagged the set 8-6 in the tiebreak with a barrage of fierce ground strokes. The Australian came unstuck in the second set, however, as Johansson turned up the heat with a series of unreturnable serves and angled winners. Hewitt was broken in the fifth game and the match looked to be heading towards a deciding set as Johansson served to level matters. But Hewitt rediscovered his touch in the nick of time to grab the break back and then ran away with the tiebreak and sealed it 7-3 after the 276th-ranked Johansson hit a forehand long. Hewitt will now play Rainer Schuettler in the quarter-finals. "It was a tough match. I was up an early break in the first set and he played a good game to break me back. Then we went to a tie-break and it was a little bit 'up-and-down' in the tie-break - we both had advantages - and I was just able probably to play the bigger points a little bit better at times," said Hewitt. Federer wins Australian Open champion Roger Federer started brilliantly against Andre Pavel in a quest to extend his unbeaten run to a career-best 16 matches in ATP sanctioned events. He frustrated the Romanian with his array of penetrating and angled winners to race into a 5-2 lead in the opening set. However, he suddenly seemed to lose interest and allowed Pavel to stage a fight back before regaining his focus to secure the tiebreak 7-2. Pavel continued to trouble Federer in the second. But the top seed here eventually broke the deadlock in the 11th game before sealing victory in the next game with a backhand volley, which was just too good for the Romanian. Federer now plays Tim Henman for a place in the last four. The Briton has a 5-1 record against him and, as Federer pointed out, was the last player to beat him before he began his extraordinary run of victories. "I've got a very bad record against him. I've lost 5-1. The one time I won, he gave up after a set so... He's really the last guy who beat me in an official tournament, in Paris-Bercy, so I hope he didn't start the streak and is going to end it. We'll see what happens but I'm looking forward to this match because it's always interesting to play him," said Federer. (AP)

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