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Hewitt never recovers from foot fault

1/26/2004

MELBOURNE, Australia -- On its national day of celebration,
Australia lost its top two players at the Australian Open.

Nearly two months ago, Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt led
Australia to the Davis Cup title over Spain. On Monday, both were
stopped in the fourth round, putting a damper on Australia Day.

Hicham Arazi upset the 10th-seeded Philippoussis 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
to reach the quarterfinals, leaving Hewitt as the final Australian
in the tournament -- but he didn't last much longer.

Roger Federer
of Switzerland beat him 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 in a match that turned
on a foot fault and left Hewitt screaming and unsettled.

Hewitt, once ranked No. 1 but now seeded 15th, took advantage of uncharacteristic errors
from Federer to take the first set and was serving at 2-3 in the
second. He double-faulted to make it 40-30, then was called for
dragging his foot across the baseline on his first serve.

After glaring at the linesman, Hewitt hit a backhand into the
net and a forehand long to give Federer a break point. He then
yelled at the linesman and followed the outburst with a forehand
into the net that gave the game to Federer.

Hewitt spiked his racket when he was broken in the first game of
the third set and didn't recover from his mistake until the
fourth.

Federer finished off the night with an overhead winner on his
third match point.

"Maybe I got a little lucky with that foot-fault call, but I
still felt like I started to play better and better," Federer
said. "I was playing much more aggressive. Looking back I'm very
pleased I've come back from a set down."

Hewitt said the foot-fault call, the only one of the match,
affected him for just one game.

"It's obviously disappointing when you hit an ace and get a
foot-fault called," he said. "I still wouldn't have won the
match. I ran into a guy who was too good for me tonight."

Philippoussis hit a big overhead early in the first set that
bounced and hit the 30-year-old Arazi on the side of the head,
knocking him down. The Moroccan smiled as he got up and made the
crowd laugh when he briefly hid behind a linesman before the next
point.

But Arazi, who beat 25th-seeded Albert Costa in his last match,
blunted Philippoussis' vaunted power, breaking his serve five
times. Philippoussis squandered all 10 of his break-point
opportunities, including five while trying to get back into the
match while Arazi was serving at 1-2 in the third set.

Arazi, a left-hander ranked 51st, then broke Philippoussis for the last time
in the next game, running around his backhand to hit a forehand
winner that the Australian didn't make a move on.

While both players had 34 winners, Arazi made just 10 unforced
errors to 38 for Philippoussis.

"The guy was pretty much too good today,'' Philippoussis said.
"He played a flawless match. I felt like every time he wanted to
go for it, he went for it and made it. Nothing much I could do.''

Arazi next faces third-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero, the French
Open champion, who needed treatment on his injured leg twice in a
6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Andrei Pavel.

"I started to feel better and better during the match, I tried
to fight a lot and win -- I did it very well,'' Ferrero said. "I
was very focused and concentrated on my game and not on my
injury.''

Eighth-seeded David Nalbandian will play Federer in the
quarterfinals after beating fellow Argentine Guillermo Canas 6-4,
6-2, 6-1. Canas looked sluggish after consecutive five-setters,
including an almost five-hour win over 11th-seeded Tim Henman in
his last match.

Nalbandian, who lost the 2002 Wimbledon final to Hewitt, hasn't
dropped a set in four matches. He beat top-ranked Andy Roddick and
defending champion Andre Agassi, who both advanced on Sunday, in a
warmup tournament in Melbourne.

Ferrero said he had a groin injury, but didn't expect it to
trouble him much. He hit 53 winners and had Pavel chasing balls
over the court in his victory.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.