NEWPORT, R.I. - American Vince Spadea was at his best when he needed to be yesterday, beating Austrian Alexander Peya, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, to advance to the semifinals at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
Spadea will face defending champion Fabrice Santoro today, after 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang is inducted into the Hall of Fame during afternoon ceremonies. Santoro defeated Ivan Navarro, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Prakash Amritraj plays seventh-seeded Frank Dancevic, Canada's top player, in the other semifinal.
"I played well at the right times," Spadea said. "I think I'm playing well enough to beat anybody in this tournament."
The 33-year-old Spadea was broken in the first set to fall behind, 4-5, but he broke back in the next game to eventually force the tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker, Spadea won the first of three consecutive points by converting an overhead smash. Peya was then barely able to get a racket on Spadea's serve on the next point, tipping the ball short.
Spadea took the tiebreaker after charging the net, forcing Peya to make a desperate forehand bid that sailed wide and closed the opening set.
In the second set, Peya broke Spadea in the third game en route to a 4-1 lead. But Spadea rallied to tie the set at 5-all and took the lead when Peya double-faulted on consecutive points before hitting a forehand return into the net.
Santoro, 35, the second seed, scored six of the last seven points in the tiebreaker to close the match. The six-time tournament champion noted he and Spadea will bring plenty of experience to their match.
"Altogether, we'll be almost 70 [years old] on the court," Santoro joked.