Simon rallies to beat Hewitt in wild five-setter

by: AP May 26, 2013

AP Photo

PARIS -- Two-time major champion Lleyton Hewitt isn't sure whether he'll return to the French Open. If he doesn't, his last match at Roland Garros will be a tough one to get over.

In a back-and-forth first-round match against 15th-seeded Gilles Simon of France, Hewitt wasted a two-set lead, then fought back after dropping the opening five games of the final set to even things, before losing 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 Sunday.

Asked if he'll be back at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, the 32-year-old Hewitt replied: "Don't know. Haven't even thought about it."

Simon had never before won a match after losing the first two sets. After letting Hewitt make it 5-all in the fifth set, Simon steadied himself to hold for 6-5, then broke at love in the final game.

"You know, would have liked to have been on the other end of it. Yeah, disappointing, but, yeah, I didn't obviously come here with massive expectations," said Hewitt, a former No. 1 now ranked 86th.

The Australian, who won the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002, was playing in his 13th French Open. He fell to 0-3 on clay this season.

"I went out there with a pretty good game plan, I think, and I executed it perfectly for the first couple of sets," Hewitt said. "He changed his game a little bit and gave me absolutely no free points for the next three sets."

Despite the momentum change, Hewitt still saved two match points at 5-2 in the last set to even it at 5-all.

"All of a sudden I would win all the points, and then I lost them, and I won them again," Simon said. "At the end, he played ... great tennis. And it's never easy to finish when you see the guy coming back 5-1, 5-2, 5-3 after a few match points."

Hewitt was hampered by blisters on a toe in the third set.

He also lost in the first round last year at Roland Garros. His best showings in Paris were reaching the quarterfinals in 2001 and 2004.

More Stories

Venus and Serena have always led the fight for gender equality

In 2012, Venus and Serena traveled to Nigeria to promote women's rights. 

How will Angelique Kerber fare in 2017?

After a breakthrough 2016, what does the German have in store for us next year? 

Arizona State AD makes commitment to bring back men's tennis

Buffie and Ray Anderson are helping to put Sun Devils men's tennis back on the map.