ao03elaynaoui_hewitt

ao03elaynaoui_hewitt

Points won by each set: | 33-39, 39-39, 48-41, 28-25 |
Points won directly behind the serve:
40 % El Aynaoui – 59 of 145
36 % Hewitt – 54 of 147

Hewitt [1] was a main contender to triumph at the Australian Open twice (2002-03), yet on both occasions he didn’t even reach the quarterfinals! Hewitt’s first round loss in 2002 (to Alberto Martin) is tough to explain, much tougher than his 4th round defeat one year later. El Aynaoui [22] based his game-style throughout career actually on two strokes: serve & forehand; guys of this type are dangerous for the best players in the world under two conditions – they need to handle the pressure at the most crucial moments and their both best strokes have to be efficient in the course of the match. El Aynaoui was serving like a machine on that day, career-high 33 aces at 70% of first serve in! He also couldn’t ask for a better disposition at his forehands during rallies. Nonetheless, Hewitt was two points away from winning sets two & three: in the 2nd set at 6:5* (30-all) – the Moroccan won the point with a forehand volley, then at 5-all in the 3rd set tie-break – El Aynaoui played great rally in defence, finishing the point with his best backhand in the match! The 4th set wasn’t finished in a tie-break, but the aura pushing to another one was involved too – with a double fault Hewitt lost his serve after 42 consecutive mutual holds. He trailed *3:5 (deuce), then had a break point in the 10th game – I’d say the only game of the match in which El Aynaoui seemed tense. He didn’t make a forehand error on break point though, forcing Hewitt’s forehand error. Another two points the Moroccan obtained attacking the net, and produced a huge upset after 3 hours 30 minutes.

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