NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Australian Lleyton Hewitt is getting a third shot at a title at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
The third-seeded Hewitt will face 6-foot-11, hard-serving Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in the final on Sunday.
Karlovic ousted Samuel Groth of Australia 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday. Hewitt, who lost in the 2013 final to Nicolas Mahut, beat seventh-seeded American Jack Sock 6-1, 6-2.
Hewitt also dropped the 2012 final, losing to 6-foot-10 John Isner and his big serve.
“There’s not a lot I can do until I go out there and play,” Hewitt said of getting ready for Karlovic. “I’m not going to find a lot of 7-foot guys to come and serve at me. The last couple of years I’ve played pretty good against Isner here.”
The 33-year old Hewitt ousted two-time champ Isner in last year’s semis. He’ll also be in the doubles final after his singles match.
“I felt fine,” he said of his 60-minute match. “Obviously that didn’t take much out of me. I felt like I’ve been playing better all week.”
The matches were played after the induction ceremonies for a five-person class for the International Tennis Hall of Fame, highlighted by Lindsay Davenport.
Davenport entered the Hall with five-time Paralympic medalist Chantal Vandierendonck in the recent player category. Coach Nick Bollettieri, executive Jane Brown Grimes and broadcaster John Barrett were inducted from the contributor category during a 90-minute ceremony on Newport’s grass courts.
Hewitt felt like he forced Sock to change his plan.
“I felt like his biggest weapon was obviously his serve and his forehand, and I was able to nullify those and he was kind of searching for answers,” he said. “He was trying to go out of his comfort zone to play points different ways, which was kind of playing into my hands.”
Hewitt broke in the third and fifth games of the second set. He won the match when Sock his a second-serve backhand wide.
Hewitt is looking for his 30th career ATP title and Karlovic his sixth in the oldest final in the 38-year history of the tourney.
The other semi was a matchup of two hard servers, with many in the mid-130 mph range.
Up a set, the 35-year old Karlovic broke in the fifth game of the second, hitting a pair of forehand winners down the line to go up, 3-2.
“I hit it clean and it was on the line,” he said. “That was nice for me.”
Karlovic went up 40-15 in the final game before double-faulting. Groth then hit a second-serve backhand return wide, ending the match.
“The reality is the guy’s 6-foot-11. I don’t think he’s going to scamper around the court like Lleyton did in his prime,” Groth said. “The guy’s one of the best serves ever, if not probably the best serve on tour at the moment.”
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