Isner, Hewitt to battle in Newport semis

Two-time reigning champion John Isner and last year's runner-up Lleyton Hewitt will meet in a rematch of last year's final in Saturday's semifinals at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

Friday's tallest-ever tennis match saw the 6-foot-9 Isner hold off 6-foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), in 1 hour, 37 minutes on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The massive-serving encounter featured 37 aces, including 23 from the American winner, and there were no breaks points to be had between the two sluggers.

The second-seeded Isner is now 2-2 lifetime against his fellow giant Karlovic.

Isner captured his second straight Newport title last year by besting the former Wimbledon champion Hewitt in the marquee finale.

Meanwhile, the fourth-seeded Hewitt set up the rematch with Isner by overcoming Czech qualifier Jan Hernych 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-2 in exactly two hours in the last quarterfinal affair.

Hewitt will meet Isner for a fifth time, with the Aussie leading their lifetime series, 3-1. Hewitt upset Isner at the Indian Wells Masters event earlier this season.

Saturday's other semi will pit 35-year-old American Michael Russell against 2007 Newport runner-up Nicolas Mahut of France.

Russell will attempt to reach his first-ever ATP final.

"I feel like I'm saving the best part of my tennis for the last couple of years, sort of the twilight," said Russell.

Mahut is best known for losing to Isner in the longest-ever tennis match, an 11-hour, 5-minute affair that was played out over three days in the opening round at Wimbledon three years ago.

The winner of this $520,000 event will claim $78,000.