Top-seeded James Ward dodged a bullet and searing heat Friday at UK's Boone Tennis Center, rallying for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 Lexington Challenger quarterfinal win over Erik Chvojka of Canada on Friday night.
The British Davis Cupper was two points from being upset at 3-5 in the second set when he somehow changed the momentum. He'd taken a 6-5 lead when torrents of rain stopped play for nearly two hours. When they resumed to the most pleasant temperature of the week, Ward wrapped up the set and the first five games of the third set — nine games in a row.
Ward moves on to the semifinals Saturday against Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, who ended the run of qualifier Blake Strode 7-6 (2), 6-4. In the other semifinal, Greg Ouellette awaits the winner of second-seeded Wayne Odesnik and sixth-seeded Michael Yani, who were playing a late quarterfinal Friday night. Ouellette, who played at Florida, advanced when his opponent, Jamie Baker of Great Britain, retired trailing 7-5, 2-0.
The top remaining women's seed, No. 2 Alison Riske, was battling 17-year-old Lauren Davis — the No. 3-ranked junior in the world — in another late match.
Before the evening deluge, three women advanced to the semifinals on a bit of a roll: Ling Zhang, Amanda Fink and Chichi Scholl.
Ling Zhang, the No. 8 seed, will face the qualifier Fink on Saturday.
Scholl, a 19-year-old German-born Floridian, dismantled No. 4 Tetiana Luzhanska of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3.
"Ranking doesn't matter at this level," said Fink, who sidelined No. 7 seed Heidi El Tabakh in the second round. "Chichi is very mentally tough and strong off both sides. She has the right to tango with anyone."