The second of four intriguing quarter-finals is scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Championships, as Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt and Steve Johnson cross paths for the first time at the Newport grass court event.
Lleyton Hewitt is through to his third consecutive Newport quarter-final round after he dispatched qualifier Ante Pavic 6-2, 6-2. Hewitt hit 4 aces and won 76% of his first service points in the match, and even saved all seven of the break points faced en route to straight sets win in 65 minutes.
“I was adjusted and ready for how the courts were playing today,” said Hewitt. “I went out there with really good tactics and played them really well.”
The Australian has reached the finals at this event for the last two years, and even beat John Isner at the event last year in the semi-finals. Much is riding on this event for Hewitt, who is a seven-time champion at grass court tournaments, including the Wimbledon championships in 2002.
American Steve Johson secured his spot in the quarter-final round – his fourth this season on the ATP World Tour – after his opponent, Tatsuma Ito, retired from the match with a left knee injury. Johnson was leading the contest 6-3, 2-0 when his opponent chose to forfeit the match.
This marks the first time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour. Hewitt is comfortable on this surface and has proven to be one of the most consistent players at this event. With more to lose in this match, it will be interesting to see how he handles a formidable challenger such as Steve Johnson. It should be noted that Johnson has not managed more than 2 consecutive wins on grass before succumbing to a loss.
Prediction: Lleyton Hewitt in Three Sets