Displaying the shots and grit that earned him a U.S. Open trophy a dozen years ago, Lleyton Hewitt came back to surprise 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 in the second round.
The four-hour match Friday night was the ninth time in the past 10 years that two past U.S. Open title winners faced each other at Flushing Meadows. Hewitt was involved four times, losing the other three.
The 32-year-old Hewitt is a former No. 1 who won the U.S. Open in 2001, and Wimbledon in 2002, but has been troubled by injuries more recently and is now ranked 66th.
But the Australian repeatedly scrambled along the baseline to stretch for passing winners against the sixth-seeded del Potro.
Hewitt next faces 102nd-ranked Evgeny Donskoy.