NEW YORK — Lleyton Hewitt was two points away from reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.
A champion at Flushing Meadows a dozen years ago, the 32-year-old could not close out Tuesday’s five-setter against 21st-seeded Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round.
“It’s one of the hardest games to win – the last one,” Hewitt said.
Dropping the last five games of the back-and-forth, nearly four-hour match, a fading Hewitt lost to Youzhny 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5.
How close was it? Hewitt won more total points, 146-145. He got within two points of winning at 5-2, then served for the match at 5-3.
“I left it all out there,” he said. “There’s not a whole heap more I could have done.”
Two-time major champion Hewitt had been 7-0 in fourth-round matches in New York, but he hadn’t even been that far in seven years. A former No. 1-ranked player who is currently 66th after a series of foot and hip injuries, Hewitt last got to the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon in 2009.
Asked whether he could see himself still competing at the U.S. Open in three or four years, Hewitt shook his head and replied: “I don’t know, mate. No idea.”
DAVIS CUP: Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek will play for defending champion Czech Republic when it meets Argentina in next week’s semifinals.
In the other semifinal, top-ranked Novak Djokovic will lead Serbia against a Canadian team powered by Milos Raonic.
This is the first time Canada has made the World Group semis.
The semifinal winners will meet for the title in November.
It was also announced Tuesday that Rafael Nadal next week will play for Spain in a World Group playoff against Ukraine. It’s the first time he’s playing Davis Cup since his country won the 2011 final.