Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Molik, Hewitt Hot in Night Session

Lleyton Hewitt capped off a successful night for Tennis Australia, downing American Michael Russell well after midnight following Alicia Molik's winning to return Rod Laver Arena in the night session.

Molik struggled briefly, but came through in straights, winning 6-4, 7-6(2) against Yung Jan-Chan of China. Hewitt, on the other hand, had to pull out all his cards to get through a grueling 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Russell.

It was a catastrophic night for both players, who hadn't seen glory on the stadium court since the 2005 AO. Last year, Molik was out with a nasty inner-ear infection and Hewitt won his opening match (on Vodafone) before losing in round two.

The buzz around the court following both wins was certainly one of wishful thinking: can the hometown girl get back to the top where she belongs? Are Hewitt's glory days not yet over?

It's hard to say about either. Hewitt had many talking in '05 when he charged all the way through to the finals, only to fall to Safin and evaporate back into the middle of the pack later that year. Meanwhile, Molik was hit and miss for much of her comeback last year, barely able to string two wins together following her maiden voyage to a major quarterfinal in 2005.

Yet with a little Aussie encouragement and the glow of the summer night at Melbourne Park, both these mid-20s 'veterans' certainly have the chance to give it another go in week two of their home slam.

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