Tennis: Djokovic roadblock in Hewitt’s path in Melbourne

reuters, Sunday 22 Jan 2012

Local hero Lleyton Hewitt’s surprising run to the last 16 of the Australian Open looks certain to come to an end when the 31-year-old meets world number one Novak Djokovic on Monday

Novak Djokovic

Defending champion Djokovic will not let sentimentality stand in the way of a place in the quarter-finals and the crowd on Rod Laver Arena are likely to leave disappointed as they did on Sunday when Roger Federer unmanned Bernard Tomic.

Former world number one Hewitt fought his way past young gun Milos Raonic in the third round but Djokovic, coming off the season of his life and in ruthless form in the first week, is an altogether tougher proposition.

Women’s second seed and bookmaker’s favourite Petra Kvitova kicks off the second week of the year’s first grand slam in an intriguing clash against a resurgent 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

Five-times champion Serena Williams is also in action against unseeded Ekaterina Makarova, while another Russian in fourth seed Maria Sharapova meets German Sabine Lisicki in the first match of the evening session.

Men’s fourth seed Andy Murray is likely to already be in the quarter-finals by then as he meets world number 92 Mikhail Kukushkin, the Kazakh one of two Asian men aiming to get into the last eight.

The other is Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who faces in-form sixth seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - losing finalist here in 2008 when Djokovic won his first grand slam title.

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