Hewitt, Philippoussis in Templeton semis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hewitt, Philippoussis in Templeton semis

08/03/2003 02:15:59 PM Comments (0)

Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis moved closer to a possible hard-court showdown with quarter-final victories on Saturday at the $US400,000 ($A652,422) Templeton Classic.

Top seed Hewitt, winner of this event in 2000, dispatched Spain's sixth-seeded veteran Alex Corretja 6-4 6-2.

Philippoussis, who lifted the trophy six years ago, got off to a slow start but recovered to beat Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian 0-6 6-3 6-4.

The pair of wild card entries are both short on match play this season, with Hewitt competing in only his second ATP tournament and Philippoussis his fifth.

Hewitt has been improving all week in the desert as he also prepares for a title defence at next week's Masters Series in Indian Wells, California.

"I'm getting better and still feel like I could play a lot better," said the 22-year-old Hewitt.

"I'm handling conditions and getting adjusted after coming here from the clay courts in Davis Cup."

Hewitt established his authority against the 28-year-old Corretja, with an early break in the first set.

With the first set wrapped up, Hewitt went to work in the second. He broke midway through the third for a 3-2 lead and never allowed the frustrated Corretja back in.

"It's been a really good week so far," said Hewitt.

"Hopefully I can keep it going, but even if something went wrong the next couple of days I wouldn't be disappointed."

Hewitt said this was a perfect tune-up for the hard-court season in the US.

"Coming here was the right decision," said Hewitt.

Corretja had won his past three encounters against Hewitt - most recently at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf on clay.

But then he took several months off to ponder his future.

Hewitt said he knew he would have a difficult time against former world number two Corretja.

"It's always going to be a tough match no matter what surface you play him on," he said.

"Obviously clay is his favourite surface, then hard courts and grass. But he's won Indian Wells and he's beaten a lot of top players on hard courts."

Philippoussis received an early scare after being blanked in the first set by Nalbandian, who lost the Wimbledon final to Hewitt.

Philippoussis recovered to sweep the last two sets to victory.

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