Hewitt's circus shot isn't enough for win

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WIMBLEDON, England --- Lleyton Hewitt pulled off one of the most spectacular shots of his long tennis career at Wimbledon on Thursday, and he didn't even get to see it.

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt returns the ball to Robin Soderling in their match at Wimbledon on Thursday. Hewitt hit one of the best shots of his career in the match, but he ended up losing.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt returns the ball to Robin Soderling in their match at Wimbledon on Thursday. Hewitt hit one of the best shots of his career in the match, but he ended up losing.

Robin Soderling looked certain to win the point when he smashed a midcourt backhand deep into the corner. Hewitt sprinted across the baseline and lunged toward the ball, his racket outstretched, knocking a backhand winner over the net.

The 30-year-old Australian rolled over onto his knees and heard the crowd erupt. At that point, he guessed the ball must have landed in.

"I didn't actually see it. Actually when I hit it, I thought it was going to the bottom of the net," Hewitt said. "It was only that the crowd started cheering."

What made it even more special was that it gave Hewitt the break for a 5-3 lead, allowing him to serve out for a two-set advantage over the fifth-seeded Soderling.

The 2002 Wimbledon champion and former No. 1 was rolling again on Centre Court, but it didn't last. Soderling recovered to win 6-7 (5), 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 and reach the third round.

AN OLD SOFTIE: Serena Williams showed her softer side as she spoke of her meeting with a sick 5-year-old boy at Wimbledon.

Jack Marshall , from Scunthorpe in northern England, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. His mother Tracy has contacted a number of celebrities via social networking site Twitter to help spread awareness of his illness and raise money to support him and other sufferers.

His Twitter feed has nearly 40,000 followers, among them Serena.

Jack met Manchester United stars, including Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney in April, and even gave England striker Rooney a kiss on the cheek.

On Thursday, he was on Court 2 to watch Williams beat Simona Halep in the second round.

A day earlier, he met the 13-time Grand Slam champion, who has just made her return from nearly a year out with health problems.

"I read his story, and my heart kind of went out for him," Williams said. "I was like, 'Oh, my God.' That was one thing, I thought if I made it to Wimbledon, I wanted to invite Jack out.

"I got to meet him yesterday. It's just been so amazing, his whole story, to be so small to have such courage. He calls me his best bud, so I love it."

RAINY DAYS: Besides just playing her opponent at Wimbledon, Ana Ivanovic was racing against the clouds.

The 18th-seeded Serb was first up on Court 12 against Eleni Daniilidou , of Greece. But with rain expected in the afternoon, Ivanovic wanted to get the match over as quickly as possible.

"I started looking up and I saw them approaching. I saw the forecast this morning and I saw that it's supposed to start at 1:00," Ivanovic said after beating Daniilidou 6-3, 6-0. "I was like, 'Don't interrupt now.'"

Ivanovic is a former No. 1 and won her only Grand Slam title at the 2008 French Open. But since then, her best results at a major have been three appearances in the fourth round.

Coming into this year's tournament at Wimbledon, however, Ivanovic warmed up with some wins on grass.

"I think lots of players tend to peak for this event. It's one of the biggest tournaments in the world we have," Ivanovic said. "Having good week in Birmingham, then playing well in Eastbourne, it obviously helps and it builds up for Wimbledon.

"This is where you want to perform your best."

COURT COMPLAINTS: Every grass court might look the same, but not to the players it seems.

Fifth-seeded Victoria Azarenka tweeted about her "crazy day" on Wednesday when she was due to play on Court 12, but ended up on Court 15 instead because of scheduling changes caused by rain. She beat Iveta Benesova .

"lets just say sometimes a heads up would be nice," she wrote.

Fernando Verdasco didn't appear to be happy either. The Spaniard mysteriously tweeted: "ITF (equals) Thieves (equals) shameful."

It emerged that the Spaniard had been fined $5,000 for an "audible obscenity" during his loss to Robin Haasey . Fines are actually issued by the tournament referees' office rather than the International Tennis Federation, and it wasn't clear that was what Verdasco was referring to. He later deleted the tweet.


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