Ferrer struts into Auckland semis, Hewitt beats Berdych
David Ferrer's progress towards a fourth title at the Australian Open warm-up in Auckland became a strut when the world number five swept aside Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-1 to reach the semi-finals.
The Spaniard, who will be seeded fourth at Melbourne Park next week in the absence of compatriot Rafa Nadal, needed just 54 minutes to beat his Slovak opponent and set up a semi-final against France's Gael Monfils, who later beat Tommy Haas 3-6 7-5 6-3.
The fifth seed in the men's draw for the year's first Grand Slam, Tomas Berdych, had a less enjoyable day when he was humbled 6-3 6-2 by resurgent former world number one Lleyton Hewitt at the Kooyong Classic.
Australian Hewitt, now 31 and ranked 82nd in the world, beat world number 15 Milos Raonic in his first round robin match on Wednesday and his 88-minute victory over Czech Berdych puts him into the final of the exhibition event.
"I'm just thrilled to be able to perform like this against quality players and on back-to-back days," Hewitt said.
"I've had five tough sets in two days and that will hold me in good stead for next week."
The men's event at the Sydney International warm-up reached the quarter-final stage with just one seed still standing after upsets and injury withdrawals ravaged the draw.
Australian young gun Bernard Tomic defeated defending champion Jarkko Nieminen 6-7 6-4 6-2 in his quarter-final later and will go on to play third seed Andreas Seppi in the last four after the Italian saw off Marcel Granollers 6-4 7-5.
Men's top seed John Isner, who lost to Harrison on Wednesday, pulled out of the Australian Open because of a knee injury on Thursday leaving Sam Querrey as the only American men's seed at Melbourne Park this year.
ATP Sydney results
3-Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat 8-Marcel Granollers (Spain) 6-4 7-5
Bernard Tomic (Australia) beat Jarkko Nieminen (Finland) 6-7(6) 6-4 6-2
Julien Benneteau (France) beat Ryan Harrison (US) 6-4 6-2
Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 6-4 6-3
ATP Auckland results
1-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Lukas Lacko (Slovakia) 6-2 6-1
4-Sam Querrey (US) beat Jesse Levine (Canada) 6-4 7-6(5)
2-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) beat Xavier Malisse (Belgium) 7-6(6) 6-4
Gael Monfils (France) beat 3-Tommy Haas (Germany) 3-6 7-5 6-3