Djokovic rallies past Hewitt
Wimbledon - Novak Djokovic had to dig deep to avoid a shock Olympic exit as the world No 2 fought back to defeat Australia's Lleyton Hewitt 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the third round on Wednesday.
Djokovic was pushed to the brink in a gruelling clash on Centre Court before finally overpowering the gritty Hewitt in one hour and 56 minutes.
The 25-year-old will play either French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic had been magnificent against three-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick in the second round, but the reigning Australian and US Open champion found it much harder to dominate against Hewitt.
Hewitt's world ranking has sunk to 158 after several years of injury problems and the 2002 Wimbledon champion needed a wild card to make it into the Games.
But the 31-year-old has been determined to improve on a miserable Olympic record and although his last chance of a singles medal might have gone, at least he can say he went down fighting.
The match wasn't even two games old before rain forced a delay that lasted 30 minutes and it was Djokovic who seemed more affected by the early interruption.
Hewitt has been playing like a man with a point to prove all week after he and partner Chris Guccione were snubbed for a wild card into the men's doubles and Djokovic was the latest to feel the Australian's wrath.
A tight first set swung Hewitt's way when he broke for a 5-4 advantage and then held serve to move ahead.
Hewitt was just as obdurate in the second set and a lesser player might have crumbled in the face of his aggressive baseline play.
But Djokovic is made of sterner stuff. He took the fight back to Hewitt and broke at 6-5 to clinch the second set.
Djokovic was back in the groove now and he shattered Hewitt's stubborn resistance in the final set, breaking twice to move into the last eight.