Gambill Beats Hewitt At Wimbledon

Tuesday, June 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Jan-Michael Gambill pulled off the biggest upset of Wimbledon so far with a straight-sets victory Tuesday over Lleyton Hewitt, who was regarded as a strong threat to Pete Sampras' title.

The seventh-seeded Hewitt beat Sampras in straight sets in the final of the Wimbledon warmup at Queen's Club. Sampras, as well as other top current and former players, had anointed the gritty Australian as the next big star and a possible Wimbledon champion.

But, in his first appearance on Centre Court, Hewitt came out flat, and Gambill, a 23-year-old American, outslugged him from the baseline 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.

Gambill, ranked No. 49 in the season-long points race, overwhelmed Hewitt in the first two sets. The Australian began to find his game in the third set, racing to a 5-2 lead and looking like he might produce a five-set comeback.

But Hewitt squandered three set points, and Gambill stormed back. At 5-5, Hewitt served his eighth double fault at deuce and was broken on the next point when he hit a backhand long.

With Gambill serving for the match, Hewitt had two break points to even the set at 6-6. But Gambill saved the first with an ace and the second with a service winner. He converted his first match point with another big serve.

It was the second big upset by an unheralded American in two days. On Monday, Vince Spadea snapped his tour record 21-match losing streak by beating 14th-seeded Greg Rusedski in five sets.