Americans Sock, Ram advance to quarters on Newport’s grass

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) Americans Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram advanced to the quarterfinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

Fourth-seeded Sock rallied past Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Ram defeated Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-4, 6-3, a day after upsetting top-seeded John Isner.

The 31-year-old Ram returned the various slices, lobs and other change-of-pace shots offered by Sugita. The 161st-ranked Ram last won the Newport title in 2009.

The 22-year-old Sock, ranked 39th, needed two hours to advance in humid conditions on center court.

”You see a lot of upsets here every year, it’s part of the game,” said Sock, who faced seven break points, saving four in the third set. ”With the weather, I haven’t been in much humidity and heat – that took some adjusting to.”

Ram is one of 10 Americans in the tournament – five seeded – and he’s making a solid run.

”I’ve done this for long enough, it’s a completely different match, a different day,” Ram said of the short turnaround. ”A completely different opponent is really more of an issue. I had to play with a little bit of a different strategy, a little bit of a different outlook on it, but I played pretty well.”

In other action, fifth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France beat Tommy Haas of Germany 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1), 6-4 in a match suspended by rain Tuesday.

Seventh-seeded Steve Johnson of the U.S. was ousted by Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-4, 6-4; and Australia’s John-Patrick Smith beat 18-year old American Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-1.

Ram broke serve in the seventh game of the opening set to take control. He closed the set with a forehand winner.

With fans still entering the grounds next to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Ram took charge, going up 3-1 in the second set.

”I guess I was executing pretty well,” he said. ”It’s a good thing if you can frustrate your opponent.”

Sugita lost the first three points on serve in the final game of the match before returning a backhand long, ending it in 67 minutes.

Ram edged Isner 10-8 in a third-set tiebreaker.

On Saturday, former world No. 1 and two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo of France heads the 2015 class into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.