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  • Mathieu ousts Hewitt, Soderling survives in five

    8/31/10 2:00 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Mathieu ousts Hewitt, Soderling survives in five Robin Soderling and Paul-Henri Mathieu battle through five-setters on Day 1 of the U.S. Open. They defeat Andreas Haider-Maurer and Lleyton Hewitt, respectively.

    (5) Robin Soderling d. (Q) Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(2), 5-7, 6-4

    Soderling momentarily squandered a two-set advantage and needed three hours and 52 minutes to survive his first-round U.S. Open match against Haider-Maurer on Monday. The Swede started off comfortably enough, storming back from an early break deficit to win the first set 7-5 before breaking three times in the second. Soderling then had four match points late in the third frame of play for a relatively routine win, but that's when the tide turned.

    Haider-Maurer fought off all four match points and went on to dominate the third-set tiebreaker seven points to two. The 214th-ranked Austrian, who qualified to get into the main draw, maintained the momentum as his lone break of the fourth set came at 6-5 to force a decisive fifth. Playing in his first-ever Grand Slam main draw, however, Haider-Maurer could not quite get it done in the final set. Soderling needed just one break before serving out the proceedings at 5-4. The U.S. Open's No. 5 seed battled though a shaky performance (74 unforced errors, 13 double-faults) to set up a second-round meeting with Taylor Dent.

    Paul-Henri Mathieu d. (32) Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1

    Like Soderling, Mathieu threw away a two-set lead before recovering in the fifth to book a spot in the second round of the U.S. Open. The Frenchman advanced after three hours and 39 minutes of play, clinching a date with countryman and wild card Guillaume Rufin. Mathieu has struggled this season with various injuries, but he came out hot on Monday and took the first set with a single break. The world No. 109 then abused Hewitt's serve for three breaks in the second for a two-set advantage.

    Always one of the most respected fighters throughout his illustrious career, Hewitt fought back in the third. The No. 32 seed earned the first break of set three at the perfect time, striking at 6-5 to prolong the match. Hewitt came up big in similar fashion in the following frame of play, breaking at 5-4 to force a deciding fifth. Suddenly, however, the veteran Aussie ran out of gas just as Mathieu raised his level. Mathieu struck 16 winners in the final set, raced to a 4-0 advantage, and clinched the victory when Hewitt double-faulted on match point at 1-5. An aggressive Mathieu fired 72 winners to Hewitt's 40.

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