LONDON: Australia`s Lleyton Hewitt beat France`s Gael Monfils in straight sets on Friday to progress through to the men`s fourth round at Wimbledon.
The 2002 champion won 6-3, 7-6 (11/9), 6-4 and was forced to dig deep in the second set before eventually triumphing in the crucial tie break to set up a meeting with Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic.
The 29-year-old Australian is the active player with the most wins on grass, chalking up his 101st victory on the surface.
The world number 26 - seeded 15 here - entered Wimbledon in dangerous form, having won his 28th career title at Halle, giving Roger Federer a rare defeat on grass in the final.
Monfils, the 21st seed, was the 2004 boys` champion here at the All England Club but could not match Hewitt on Centre Court.
Hewitt took the first set but the French number two gave him more of a challenge in the second, taking the set to a tie-break.
Hewitt had two set points but dumped returns in the net to make it level at 6-6.
The Australian number one could not return Monfils`s serve, leaving Hewitt serving at set point down.
Monfils charged into the net but put a drop shot out to make it 8-8.
The Parisian boomed down an ace for 9-8 but a Hewitt winner down the line levelled matters again.
Monfils slid and failed to reach a return, making it 10-9 to Hewitt. At set point again, Hewitt charged into the net for a drop shot. Monfils slid once more but could not reach it, triggering wild fist pumps from the Australian.
He broke Monfils again as he motored through the third set.
The Frenchman had equalled his best Wimbledon result by reaching the third round, which he also achieved in 2005 and 2007.
Despite his boys` title, Wimbledon is his least successful Grand Slam.
Hewitt was one of four Australians to start in the men`s draw, the highest representation they have had here since four men competed in 2005.
He had a difficult start to the 2010 season after undergoing more surgery on his right hip in January, an injury which affected his performance at the Australian Open.
He returned to competitive tennis at Houston in April but failed to win back-to-back matches until Roland Garros, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in the third round. Halle was his first title win since Houston in April 2009.
BDST: 2320hrs, June 25, 2010