Hewitt advances as Van der Merwe awaits Isner
American Rajeev Ram upset Japanese second seed Kei Nishikori 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 Thursday to book a semi-final date against Australian Lleyton Hewitt at the ATP Hall of Fame Championships.
Ram, ranked 118th in the world, won his first ATP title two years ago on the Newport grass and is in position for another trip to the final if he can oust Hewitt, a former World No. 1 coming back from toe surgery.
Hewitt, 31, eliminated Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-3 in the day’s other quarter-final at the $398,250 event.
Playing in Newport for the first time since 1998, Hewitt broke Sela five times and cruised to victory in 78 minutes. The Aussie has been out almost four months and fallen to 233rd in the ATP rankings.
Hewitt reached his first ATP semi-final since June of 2010, when he went on to win his 28th career title at Halle, defeating Roger Federer in the final.
Friday’s other quarter-finals pit US top seed John Isner against South African qualifier Izak Van Der Merwe and German qualifier Benjamin Becker against US sixth seed Ryan Harrison.
Becker eliminated Canadian third seed Milos Raonic 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday while Harrison downed countryman Jesse Levine 6-3, 6-4.
It will be Harrison’s fourth quarter-final of the year and second on grass after losing in the last eight at Eastbourne last month.
Becker, ranked 112th, broke Raonic three times to claim only his eighth triumph of the season and third of the week in just 63 minutes, avenging a semi-final loss to the Canadian in February at San Jose.
“He didn’t serve many aces, whereas last time I played him he served nearly 30,” Becker said. “His serve wasn’t as effective today. I made him play a lot on his second serve and used my chances.”