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March 20, 2019

Ramanathan, Smyczek advance to ATP Newport semi-finals

Ramanathan, Smyczek advance to ATP Newport semi-finals
'India's Ramkumar Ramanathan, pictured in February 2017, advanced to the Hall of Fame Open semi-finals after defeating Canada's Vasek Pospisil' - By: AFP/File PUNIT PARANJPE

India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and American Tim Smyczek, each hoping to reach his first ATP singles final, advanced to the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Open grasscourt tournament Thursday.

Ramanathan surrendered only seven points on his first serve over 78 minutes in defeating Canada's Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-2 and Smyczek held off Taiwan's Jason Jung 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in quarter-final matches at Newport, Rhode Island.

World number 123 Smyczek, 30, has never played 161st-ranked Ramanathan, but their triumphs ensure one of them will reach his first ATP singles championship match on Sunday.

Friday's quarter-finals send US third seed Steve Johnson against Israel's 156th-ranked Dudi Sela and 124th-ranked Spaniard Marcel Granollers against French top seed Adrian Mannarino.

Ramanathan, a 23-year-old from Chennai, was 1-2 this year in ATP events until this week, when he ousted Dominican Victor Burgos 6-4, 6-1 in his opener and dispatched US eighth seed Denis Kudla 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round.

Saturday's semi-finals will be staged around the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Czech Helena Sukova and Germany's Michael Stich.

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