Lleyton Hewitt has shown Betfair
punters that he should not be written off just yet by moving into the semi-finals of an ATP tournament for the first time in more than two years.
The 31-year-old Australian impressed in the 6-4 6-3 quarter-final demolition of the Israeli player Dudi Sela at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships at Rhode Island.
The former world number one, who beat Pete Sampras in the final of the 2001 US Open and thrashed David Nalbandian in the 2002 Wimbledon final, has slipped to 233 in the world rankings and is hardly bothered with in Betfair Tennis
markets, However, he rolled back the years to produce one of his best displays of recent times to outclass Sela.
Hewitt is only a wildcard in the tournament after deciding to take part in the event so that he could get more grass-court experience before the Olympics start, after making early exits from Queens and Wimbledon last month.
After his victory, Hewitt said: "It worked perfectly to come here before I go back to London and get ready for the Olympics.
"Any time I get an opportunity to represent Australia, it means a lot. I've done it in terms of Davis Cup, but the Olympics is a little bit different.
"To be able to play on grass, which is my favourite as a tennis player, is going to be great.”
In the semi-finals Hewitt meets the 2009 Rhode Island champion Rajeev Ram, who upset the second seed Kei Nishikori 7-6 6-3 in their quarter-final.
Should Hewitt beat the American, who is currently ranked 118 in the world, it is likely that he will face John Isner, the defending champion and top seed, in the final.
Hewitt's last ATP tournament win came in 2010 when he beat Roger Federer in the Gerry Weber Open final.