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By Chris Oddo | Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lleyton Hewitt, Newport 2014

Lleyton Hewitt fought his way past Ivo Karlovic in Newport, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), to join the ATP's elite 30-title club.

Photo Source: AP

Just like in 2013, Lleyton Hewitt dropped serve while serving for the title on Sunday in the Newport final, but this time the gritty Aussie regrouped to bag his 30th career ATP crown, taking down Ivo Karlovic in three topsy-turvy sets, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

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Hewitt becomes just the fourth active ATP player to reach the 30-title mark, joining Roger Federer (79), Rafael Nadal (64) and Novak Djokovic (45) as one of the only four to have achieved the lofty number.

On Sunday, he had to earn it.

After moving ahead by a break on two occasions in the second set, Hewitt failed to hold the lead both times. Karlovic would save two match points and eventually break with Hewitt serving for the match at 5-4, then proceed to take the second-set tiebreaker to force a decider.

Hewitt’s world-class return paid dividends all day, as he won 67 percent of second-serve return points and created 14 break point opportunities, but it came down to holding serve in the decider for the two-time Grand Slam champion.

Hewitt, who had dropped all three of his previous encounters with the giant Croatian on grass, saved all three break points he faced in the final set and eventually came good in the deciding tiebreaker.

When Karlovic’s last-ditch forehand sailed wide, Hewitt dropped to his knees in jubilation, having won his 8th career grass-court title after coming close to letting the title slip through his hands.

“I felt relief to have finally won here. It’s an important tournament,” said Hewitt. “For me, I’ve come here the last three years and have come awfully close the last two years. It’s nice to be rewarded today.”

With a combined 68 years and 10 months between Hewitt and Karlovic, the match was the oldest tour-level final since 1977, when Ken Rosewall and Tom Gorman played in the Hong Kong final (74 years and 8 months). It also marked the fourth all 30-over final of 2014.

Hewitt also combined with Chris Guccione to win the doubles title, as they defeated Jonathan Erlich and Rajeev Ram, 7-5 ,6-4 in the final.


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