Lleyton Hewitt motivated himself with his trademark shouts in the fifth set and subdued unseeded Jarkko Nieminen 2-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 Thursday to advance to the U.S. Open semifinals for a fifth time.
The third-seeded Hewitt will play either No. 1 Roger Federer, who won last year's final, or 11th-seeded David Nalbandian on Saturday. The other semifinal will feature Robby Ginepri and Andre Agassi, whose prevailed in a five-set match against James Blake on Wednesday night.
Hewitt is notoriously noisy on the court, and more than a few opponents have complained about his fist pumps, forehand taps and loud shouts of "Come on!" when he makes a good shot. But the Australian, newly married and a few weeks from becoming a father, has barely been audible at the U.S. Open.
After Hewitt won his first two service games to go up 2-1 in the first set, Nieminen won the next five games, repeatedly reaching and saving balls that appeared like winners. Hewitt, meanwhile, committed numerous unforced errors, dumping shots into the net, backhands and forehands alike, and putting too much power on several volleys.
In the second set, he won 19 of 21 points on his way to a 5-0 lead. He served out the set to even the match 1-1, but then retreated again as Nieminen took the next set. After evening the match at again at 2-2, Hewitt finally started chattering. He let out a loud "Come on!" when he broke Nieminen in the first game of the fifth set, and that broke the spell. He served a 196 kph (122 mph) ace _ the first of 10 straight points he won on serve _ and raced to a 4-0 lead. Nieminen made one last stand, enduring nine deuces before holding serve. But Hewitt streaked through the next two games, closing out the match with a volley winner and yelling "Come on!" one last time, AP reports.