David Ferrer provided the class, while Jack Sock played on his name with a victory giveaway as the ATP Auckland Classic semi-finalists sorted themselves out yesterday.
Top seed Ferrer and No. 2 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved into the final four with straight-sets wins to join Sock and Roberto Bautista Agus, who both took three sets to upset Kevin Anderson and John Isner respectively.
Sock recovered from a string of early unforced errors to beat Anderson 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 and celebrated the victory by starting what he says will become his win tradition: a sock giveaway.
“It feels great,” said the 23-year-old American, who survived 14 aces by Anderson.
“He came out serving really well. He didn’t miss many first serves, didn’t let me get in the match,” Sock said.
“I knew it was going to be tough, but I was able to get in a little bit of a rhythm on returns and lucky enough to get a win,” Sock added.
Sock, ranked 26th to Anderson’s 12th, cut back on the error count after the disappointing first set and won the match on a service break and celebrated by throwing a sock into the crowd.
“I think with such a unique name that I have, we figured I might start a new tradition and give a sock away if I win,” he said.
“I did it real quick. I just turned around and threw it to some guy. I think I need to go out and play it up a little more, hold it up and see who wants it,” Sock said.
“Whoever wants a really sweaty sock can have it,” he said.
Sock is to play top seed Ferrer in the semi-finals after the Spaniard whipped Czech Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-4.
Bautista Agut, beaten by Isner in the Auckland semi-finals two years ago, turned the tables with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 victory over the third seed.
“I had revenge today,” said the Spaniard, who is ranked 25th, 14 places below Isner.
Bautista Agut is to play Tsonga in the semi-finals after the Frenchman’s 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) win over Fabio Fognini.
Rain interrupted play at the Sydney International, forcing Taiwan’s Chan sisters’ semi-final against Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic to be rescheduled for this morning.
If Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan win, they face Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza in the final tonight after the US-India pair ousted Raluca Olaru and Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.
In the men’s draw, Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine won the first set 6-4 over Grigor Dimitrov before rain stopped play.
The showers cleared in Sydney later in the day, allowing play to continue, and Dimitrov won the second set 6-3 to send it to a decider, which he was leading 4-2 when the rain returned.
In the men’s doubles Rohan Bopanna of India and Florin Mergea of Romania defeated home pair Sam Groth and John Peers 6-2, 6-4.
Other games were suspended due to rain.
AP, HOBART, Australia
At the Hobart International, Mona Barthel withdrew from her scheduled quarter-final against Alize Cornet with a back injury, handing Cornet a walkover.
Barthel sought treatment early in the first set of her win over Naomi Osaka on Wednesday.
In quarter-finals of the the women’s doubles, Spanish duo Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja defeated Shuko Aoyama and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 10-4; while Han Xinyun of China and Christina McHale of the US eliminated Darija Jurak of Croatia and Nicole Melichar of the US 6-3, 6-4.
Other games were suspended.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
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