Brisbane bust for Federer

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From the New York Times:

Hewitt, who has had the nickname Rusty for years, looked anything but, playing well in nearly all the aspects of his game. He often returned Federer’s serve with interest, and he used a deep arsenal of shots to finish off points.

Federer, conversely, was often erratic, especially in a woeful first set, in which he committed 22 unforced errors in seven games. He struggled mightily at times with his backhand, and although he steadied himself as the match continued, a lapse in the third set gave Hewitt a crucial break that he did not squander.

Especially after falling behind early, Federer had the support of a majority of the fans, even in Hewitt’s home country. The loudest cheers of the day, however, were from a boisterous group of fans in green and gold who serenaded Hewitt with enthusiastic chants and repurposed songs (although the lyrics — like “walking in a Hewitt wonderland” — often left something to be desired).

“I didn’t play great today, which is a bit unfortunate, but also Lleyton was the best player I played this week,” said Federer, who is five and a half months younger than Hewitt. “He made it toughest on me. So I have a clear idea what I need to work on, and I have a clear idea where my mind and body is at. I’m very hungry and eager to attack the Australian Open next week.”

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