Third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt will try to become the first home-country player to win the Australian Open tennis tournament in 17 years on Sunday. Hewitt advanced to the final by beating second-seeded American Andy Roddick, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-1 in Melbourne.
Hewitt, who has been dreaming of winning his country's Grand Slam event, lost the first set 3-6. But he dug deeper and fought back to win the next two sets in tiebreakers, then overwhelmed Roddick 6-1 in the fourth set to clinch his berth in the final.
Hewitt will face former U.S. Open champion Marat Safin of Russia in the men's final on Sunday. The fourth-seeded Russian upset defending champion and world Number One Roger Federer of Switzerland in a five-set semifinal Thursday. Hewitt says playing Safin in the final will be anything but easy.
"I think he has played extremely well throughout this whole tournament. He always plays well in the Australian Open,” said Mr. Hewitt. “ He has been to two Australian Open finals before, so it is not going to be easy. I am going to have to raise the level of my game again, go out there and give it everything I've got and see what happens."
Safin says Hewitt tries to force opponents to play his style of tennis, but that he cannot fall into that trap.
"I have to go with my tactics, just go for it sometimes, risk it and be aggressive,” he said. “Be really aggressive if you want to have a chance to win the final. And try to stay calm, no matter what is going on and what is the score."
In the women's final Saturday, seventh-seeded American Serena Williams beat top-seeded women's world Number One and countrywoman Lindsay Davenport 2-6, 6-3, 6-love to earn her second Aussie Open crown.