Melbourne, Australia, 21 January 2012 | AAP
Of the two hottest young prospects in men’s tennis marching through the Australian Open, one will play an Australian on Saturday night.
The other is an Australian.
Rising star Milos Raonic of Canada will aim his bullet-like, metronomic serve at Lleyton Hewitt on Rod Laver Arena in a much-anticipated third-round clash.
The winner will join teenage sensation Bernard Tomic in the fourth round after the Australian stamped his credentials as a future Grand Slam winner in winning an epic five-setter against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov on Friday night.
Tomic will take on Roger Federer on Sunday.
Hewitt, himself a world No.1 when aged in his early 20s, is hoping his now-battered body can be dragged into the tournament’s second week with a win over Raonic.
Should he see off the Canadian 21-year-old, Hewitt faces a likely match-up with world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the round of 16.
“Obviously, to come here, do all the right things, I’m just excited to be out there,” Hewitt said.
“He’s a dangerous player. But I’ll be more focusing on my game, obviously trying to take away some of his power.”
Defeat for Hewitt would leave Tomic the last Australian standing at the Open after he beat 13th seed Dolgopolov 4-6 7-6 (0) 7-6 (6) 2-6 6-3 to enter the last 16.
“It was remarkable,” Tomic said of the crowd support.
“Tonight’s game there was so much support for me.
“It makes you focus, you want to win the next point.
“They made me win tonight. That’s what you need in your home slam on your home court.”
Aussies in action – Saturday 21 January
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v 23-Milos Raonic (CAN), Rod Laver Arena, night, second match on
Carsten Ball/Treat Conrad Huey (AUS/PHI) v 4-Mahesh Bhupathi/Rohan Bopanna (IND/IND)
Jarmila Gajdosova/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (AUS/USA) v Dominika Cibulkova/Jill Craybas (SVK/USA)
Anastastia Rodionova/Christopher Kas (AUS/GER) v Yaroslav Shvedova/Andy Ram (KAZ/ISR)
Ashleigh Barty/Ben Mitchell (AUS/AUS) v Bernard Tomic/Jelena Jankovic (AUS/SRB)