NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Second-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and Samuel Groth of Australia advanced to the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Thursday.
The 153rd-ranked Groth defeated defending champion Nicolas Mahut of France 6-3, 6-4, and Karlovic edged Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (3), 7-5. The pair will meet on Saturday after inductions for the 2014 class into the International Hall of Fame, which is highlighted this year by Lindsay Davenport in the recent player category.
The other quarterfinal matches are scheduled for Friday.
The 26-year old Groth, who skipped the 2011 tennis season to play Aussie Rules football, was still excited to earn his first career ATP tour semifinal berth about 30 minutes after the match.
"It's a great feeling. I don't know how else to describe it," he said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words right now. But for me, I don't think my tournament is over by any means. I'm going to come back out on Saturday with the confidence I can win my semifinal and win this tournament."
Groth broke in a long third game of the second set that lasted 18 points — when Mahut double-faulted — to take control.
After losing three match points in the ninth game, he closed it out with an overhead smash and let out a loud, "Yah!"
"I probably didn't even think about the match until we had that long game in the second set," he said. "For the first time everything became a little bit real."