Hewitt, Isner set for Atlanta semi-final clash
Australian Lleyton Hewitt booked his third ATP semi-final in four tournaments on Friday, beating Ivan Dodig to set up a clash with top-seeded American John Isner at the Atlanta Open.
Former world number one Hewitt, who reached the final at Newport earlier this month but lost to France's Nicolas Mahut, rallied for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over third-seeded Croatian Dodig.
"At the start of the match I couldn't get into it much," said Hewitt, ranked 64th in the world, adding that the 36th-ranked Dodig just didn't give him any early openings.
"He served fantastic, hit his spots every time. I didn't think he could play any better for a set and a half," Hewitt said. "I was just trying to hold serve and stay ahead in the second set. I played a good game at 4-3 to break. I was able to get up an early break in the third set and got a few more cheap points."
Hewitt is in search of his first ATP title since 2010. To have a shot at it, he'll have to get past big-serving Isner, who defeated James Blake 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/5).
Hewitt has won four of their five prior encounters, including a victory over Isner in the Newport semi-finals.
Saturday's other semi-final will pit second-seeded South African Kevin Anderson against American Ryan Harrison.
Anderson fired 12 aces in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 quarter-final win over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.
The 27-year-old Anderson, who has reached a career high 21st in the world rankings, is in the final four the second time in as many tournaments after making it to the semis in Bogota last week.
"In the third set I had to dig deep," said Anderson, who rallied from 0-40 down at 2-2 in the third to hold serve. "I had quite a few break points. I thought I played some good points. I don't think he gave it to me. I used the momentum and that's what tennis is. It can change just like that. It's important to stay in the moment as much as possible."
Harrison reached his first tour-level semi-final in more than a year with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2) victory over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo.