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.

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