Eighth seed Kevin Anderson rallied from a set down against the resurgent Jack Sock on Thursday to reach his first semi-final of the year at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport.

Former World No. 5 Anderson fired 20 aces and won 88 per cent (42/48) of his first serve points as he fought his way into a tour-level semi-final for the first time since Vienna last October (ret. vs. Rublev).

“I was up against a really, really good player. Jack has had a couple of tough years, but his level is way above his ranking,” Anderson said. “I really had to dig deep, it was a very physical match and conditions were much warmer today. I thought I did a good job, battling hard and fighting for every point. Fortunately, I was able to figure out a way to come through in the end.”

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Sock, who was contesting his first tour-level quarter-final since 2018 in Paris-Bercy, grabbed the first set after saving a set point. Sock and Anderson traded service breaks early on, and they stayed level as the South African applied the scoreline pressure. Sock outlasted Anderson from the baseline at 5-4 to send them into a tie-break, where he claimed the set after Anderson netted a backhand.

Anderson raised his level in the second set, using his booming serve to great effect as he kept the points short and looked for serve-and-volley winners. The eighth seed won five of the first six games to race out to a double break lead. In the third set, he attacked his opponent’s second serve, winning 12 of 14 points behind Sock’s second delivery. After breaking to love at 4-3, Anderson served out the victory in two hours and 35 minutes.

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He will next face Alexander Bublik for the first time, after the top seed raced past Jason Jung to win 6-2, 6-4 in 76 minutes. 

Bublik is into his third semi-final of the year after amassing a personal-best 26 wins on the season. The Kazakh player saved the only break point he faced and won 85 per cent (22/26) of first serve points en route to victory, which he sealed with his 14th ace of the match.

“There are a lot of positives: staying confident throughout the entire match, and staying focused against such a tricky opponent. He runs around a lot and plays very solid,” Bublik said. “I tried to keep my nerves together and served well, which definitely helps.” 

Bublik, who reached his first ATP Tour final here in Newport in 2019, is seeking his first tour-level title after starting the year with a run to the championship match in Antalya (l. to De Minaur).

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