Mahut Edges Hewitt to Capture Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

by John on July 14, 2013

nicolas-mahut

The very good summer of Nicolas Mahut continued this afternoon as the wild card Frenchman came back from the brink of defeat to edge former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships at Newport, R.I. The title was the second in four weeks for the 31-year-old Mahut, who won The Topshelf Open at ‘s-Hertogenbosch the week before Wimbledon. Both wins were on grass, Mahut’s favorite surface, and also the first tour titles of his career. Making the occasion even more special for the Frenchman was that today was Bastille Day. Both Mahut and Hewitt, seeded No. 4, played their semifinal matches earlier Sunday morning after rain washed out play on Saturday. Mahut defeated Michael Russell 6-2, 6-2, while Hewitt had to rally past two-time defending champion John Isner 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, preventing a rematch between Wimbledon’s marathon men. Hewitt had an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set, but was broken twice to even things at a set apiece. The 32-year-old Australian faltered again in the third set after leading 3-1. Mahut got back-to-back breaks in the sixth and eighth games to serve for the championship at 5-3. The wiry 6-foot-3 Frenchman cracked three straight aces and then sealed the victory with a drop volley at the net. “When you want to win a final, everything can happen. I just can’t believe it’s true,” Mahut said. “A month ago I was playing to make the cut for the qualies at the US Open, I was [ranked] 240 with some points to defend. I told my coach, I have to play great on grass to make the cut for the qualies. A month later I have two titles.” Mahut improved to 12-3 on the year and 12-2 on grass. He won 84 percent of the points on his first serve and had 14 aces. Hewitt, who was looking for his first title in three years, had eight aces and won 62 percent of his first service points. Mahut, ranked No. 137 coming in, will move into the Top 100 on Monday.

 

 

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