Hewitt makes Kooyong final
In-form Lleyton Hewitt won his way into the final of the Kooyong Classic then said he was "ready" for old foe David Nalbandian in next week's Australian Open.
In-form Lleyton Hewitt won his way into the final of the Kooyong Classic then said he was “ready” for old foe David Nalbandian in next week’s Australian Open.
Hewitt defeated Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the semi-final on Friday where he will meet French ace Gael Monfils who beat Austrian Jurgen Melzer 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in the other second match.
The 29-year-old Australian has had a series of spiteful encounters with Argentina’s Nalbandian, the man he defeated to win the 2002 Wimbledon crown.
Nalbandian, meanwhile, is into the final of the Heineken Open in Auckland where the sixth seed will face top-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer.
Ranked 54 in the world, Hewitt conceded his first-round clash with Nalbandian next week would be a difficult start to the fortnight.
But he said he was well-prepared for whatever the draw threw at him.
“There’s not too many easy draws out there really,” Hewitt said.
“He’s a quality player and he’s been to three or four in the world, won the Masters Cup and obviously made grand slam semis and finals.
“It’s going to be a tough match but I’ll be ready come Monday or Tuesday.
“I’ve played him twice in grand slams and once in Davis Cup. I won the grand slam matches and lost the Davis Cup match so we’ve played some big matches before.
“At Wimbledon I handled the pressure and expectation extremely well that day and played a near flawless match.
“But a lot’s happened since then and I’ve still got to go out there and play my game,” Hewitt said.
“It should be a good match.”
He said he was playing well both last year and this year but was hampered by injury in 2010.
“Right at the moment I feel like I’m hitting the ball pretty well and I’m moving well out there,” he said.
Hewitt clinched the first set against the 23rd-ranked Davydenko with a service break in the seventh game.
Both players broke serve in the second set but at 6-6 Hewitt rushed through the tiebreaker to seal the match in 98 minutes.
The win is Hewitt’s fifth in succession over Davydenko and is a sign of his strong form leading into the Open.