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Hewitt hails Aussie army

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:37

The 2002 winner was cheered to a 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 win over Germany’s Philipp Petzschner to reach the last 16 for the sixth year in a row and take another step on the road to his rehabilitation from hip surgery.

Hewitt’s third successive straight-sets win came in the noisy cauldron of Court Two and he said: “I thought they were fine out there. I felt the whole crowd was really into it. It was a good atmosphere.”

He added: “It’s a background noise but it works perfectly for me because I can feed off them when I need to.”

Hewitt, who claims he is playing his best tennis for four years, never doubted he could make a successful comeback once he underwent surgery last August to correct a nagging hip problem.

He lost to Fernando Gonzalez at his home grand slam event in January and bowed out at the hands of Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros but fully expected to be back to his best in time for Wimbledon.

“My surgeon was very confident that I’d get back to full fitness,” he said.

“I don’t think we expected to go out and do a lot of damage in the Australian Open. It was going to be six or 12 months after the operation that I was going to start feeling better and better.

“I was prepared to do all the hard work to get to this stage of the big tournaments. It’s nice to be in the second week of a slam.”

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