Lleyton Hewitt beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships at River Oaks Country Club.
Hewitt served for the match in the eighth game but was broken.
Hewitt squandered three match points in the 10th game before securing his 497th career victory. The three other semi-final players have a combined 122 career victories.
In other matches, Bjorn Phau beat Tommy Haas 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Evgeny Korolev beat Guillermo Canas 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and Wayne Odesnik outlasted John Isner 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
In yesterday’s semi-finals, Odesnik was to face Phau in the first match, with Hewitt to face Korolev.
Hewitt, formerly ranked No. 1, is trying to reach his first final since he won at Las Vegas in 2007. Last year, Hewitt snapped a string of 10 years with at least one victory. He has been coming back from hip surgery and carries a No. 88 world ranking.
World No. 4 Jelena Jankovic fought back from a set down to beat Italy’s Roberta Vinci 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the quarter-finals of the Andalucia Tennis Championships on Friday.
The Serbian second seed, by far the highest-ranked player left in the tournament after Wednesday’s shock exit of world No. l Serena Williams, found it tough going against the 67th-ranked Vinci on the clay in Marbella.
Both players struggled to hold serve in the blustery conditions and Vinci saved three match points in the 10th game of the third set and another in the tiebreak before Jankovic sealed the win at the fifth attempt, taking the tiebreak 8-6.
She was to play Anabel Medina Garrigues yesterday for a place in today’s final after the Spanish fourth seed beat sixth-seeded Italian Sara Errani 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 in their quarter-final earlier on Friday.
The other semi-final will feature Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, who trounced Williams’ conqueror Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2, and Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, who came through 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
■MPS GROUP CHAMPIONSHIPS
AFP, PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
Top-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova booked her semi-final berth at the WTA claycourt MPS Group Championships on Friday with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory over seventh-seeded Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko.
Petrova overcame 71 unforced errors with the help of seven aces. The Russian is coming off a “stress reaction” injury to her right foot — which can be a precursor to a stress fracture — and played with both feet taped.
Yesterday she was to face fifth-seeded Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) winner over Austrian Tamira Paszek.
“I will gain confidence from this, and that is what I have been lacking,” Petrova said.
Russian Elena Vesnina upended third-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.
Vesnina needed four match points to subdue Cibulkova, surrendering two of them with unforced errors.
Vesnina will face second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who defeated Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-2.