LONDON: Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt fell victim to 22 service aces from towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic (in pic) in a 6-3, 6-2 first-round loss for the veteran wild card Tuesday at the Queen’s club.
“It was frustrating, to say the least,” said 2002 Wimbledon champion Hewitt. “I felt like I was actually seeing the ball not bad out there, especially the returns that I could get my racquet on.“The pressure just builds on your service games, and he’s just lashing at shots left, right, and centre. I didn’t serve my best, him serving like that puts a lot more pressure on you.”
Hewitt, who is playing in the wake of undergoing foot surgery in February, won the last of his four titles on the grass of Queen’s six years ago.The 31-year-old Australian, ranked 205, saved a pair of match points in the penultimate game before Karlovic secured victory with an ace in 64 minutes.
Karlovic lost the 2005 Queen’s final seven years ago and is playing the pre-Wimbledon event for the ninth time, now standing 17-8 in west London.Earlier South African ninth seed Kevin Anderson unleashed his emotions to secure a place in the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Britain’s James Ward.