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By Gokul Pillai
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Former world number one, Hewitt tried hard to bounce back to vintage form last year but was unable to create much damage. He lost in the first round against another experienced talent, David Nalbandian in the first round of the Australian Open. He then managed to get to the quarterfinals at San Jose and Halle as part of his best performances in 2011. He lost to Fernando Verdasco here at the Hopman Cup and will be on the prowl for a much awaited victory against Gasquet.
Gasquet had started 2011 with a quarterfinal loss in Sydney and then went on reach the final eight at Zagreb. He improvised at Dubai with a place in the semi final and then mustered a quarterfinal place at Indian Wells, a spot among the last four at Rome where he defeated Roger Federer in the third round and ended the year with a fine quarterfinal run at Metz. He will definitely try to earn a few victories for his country at this year’s Hopman Cup.
Both the players have met two times before and the head-to-head count stands at 2-0 in Hewitt’s favour. The last time they met was in 2006 at the US Open where Hewitt won in five tough sets. Hewitt has one of the best ground strokes and can work any opponent to the extremes of the court tactfully. Gasquet can angle his forehands and is known for his down the line blistering backhands. Hewitt should be able to win this one in three tight sets.
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