2012 Australian Open: Does Lleyton Hewitt Have a Chance to Upset Novak Djokovic?

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21:  Lleyton Hewitt of Australia plays a backhand in his third round match against Milos Raonic of Canada during day six of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

The 2012 Australian Open has been more than kind to Lleyton Hewitt, but staring down the barrel of a fourth round match against the top-seeded Novak Djokovic, it seems his luck is about to run out.

Hewitt skated through to the third round after Andy Roddick was forced to retire with a hamstring injury, and after a less than impressive start against Milos Raonic, the Australian regained is composure in time to pull off a fashionable upset.

The former No. 1 ranked player has shown that there is much more pep in his step than originally advertised, but even he himself is shocked that his body has held up this long.

From the Australian Open:

“A couple of months ago I would have done anything to be in this position. It was just another game, but it was a bloody big game,” he told the capacity Rod Laver Arena crowd. He admitted coming into this year’s tournament his expectations were low. “I was just hoping my body would hold out for the first match. I hadn’t looked past that.”

Hewitt's efforts thus far are not to be discounted, and while at one time in his career he boasted the powerful consistency it takes to give Djokovic more than a run-of-the mill match, he simply doesn't have that type of fight in him anymore.

The 30-year-old Hewitt proved to be much more consistent than Raonic, committing only 32 unforced errors to his 54. That being said Djokovic is the poster-boy for continuity and is unlikely to bail Hewitt out with a wealth of mechanical errors.

Hewitt has what it takes to keep pace with Djokovic in the unforced errors department, as they are both great control players, but it takes a combination of consistency and power to compete with the Serbian, the latter of which Hewitt no longer has or just chooses not to use.

Raonic hit 58 winners to Hewitt's 27, and while the Australian still won in style, he cannot finesse his way to a victory against Djokovic. Hewitt can pinpoint his shots, but not alongside a dose of the clout it takes to hang with the world's top-rated player.

So, does Hewitt has a chance at upsetting or even giving Djokovic a run for his money in the fourth round?

If crowd support counted toward the scoreboard more than commanding forehands and backhands, then yes, he would.

But it doesn't. In all likelihood, Hewitt will put up no better a match against Djokovic than any other routine opponent.