AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Sam Querrey's booming serve carried him past Jesse Levine 6-4, 7-6 (5) today and into the semifinals of the Heineken Open.
Fourth-seeded Querrey had 16 aces, to go with the 19 he had in his second-round match against Olivier Rochus, to earn a semifinal place opposite second-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Querrey and Levine, both 25, first played each other as teenagers at a futures tournament in 2006 when Canada's Levine was a winner in three sets.
Their careers have since diverged and Querrey has lifted his world ranking to 22 while Levine was forced to qualify in Auckland on his current ranking of 104.
Today's match was his 10th of the year after he also qualified at last week's Brisbane International.
Top-seeded David Ferrer downed Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-1 in only 52 minutes. The Spaniard rebounded after struggling with the pace of the courts in his opening match on Wednesday when he needed three sets and two hours to beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan.
Ferrer will face the winner of the last quarterfinal, due on court later today, between third-seeded Tommy Haas and Gael Monfils.
"No match is easy but I played a very good game, better than yesterday," he said. "I had a good feeling with my game, with my shots and yesterday it was a little surprise for me that the court was faster. But today I felt better."
The win kept Ferrer on target for his fourth singles title in Auckland and his third in as many years, feats that will match those of Roy Emerson of Australia.
Querrey kept up his drive toward the final with a narrow win over the tenacious Levine. The American won 80 percent of points on first serve, dropping serve only once in the match — in the third game of the first set.
At Melbourne, Australia, former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt beat big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4) at the Kooyong Classic, advancing to a semifinal against Tomas Berdych.
The 31-year-old Hewitt is preparing for his 17th Australian Open. He won two years ago at Kooyong, an invitational warm-up event for the first major of the season.
Berdych had a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Croatia's Ivan Dodig, a late replacement for injured Kei Nishikori.
Also, 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to set up a semifinal against Marcos Baghdatis, who was leading Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 1-0 when the Serbian retired with a wrist injury.
At Sydney, top-seeded John Isner lost 6-4, 6-4 to fellow American Ryan Harrison in the second round of the Sydney International.
The exit of Isner, who was promoted to No. 1 seed after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet withdrew, followed two more injury withdrawals: second-seeded and 2011 Sydney champion Giles Simon (neck) and sixth-seeded Radek Stepanek (back).
Isner, who withdrew from the Hopman Cup mixed-team competition in Perth last week with a right knee injury, lasted 71 minutes against the 64th-ranked Harrison.
The Australian Open starts Monday, leaving injured players little time to prepare for the season's first major.
In other matches, third-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy beat John Millman of Australia 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Australian Bernard Tomic, who beat No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic last week at the Hopman Cup, advanced with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over fifth-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany; and Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan beat fourth-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-3, 6-3.
In the women's draw, top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Italy's Roberta Vinci and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-1.
At Hobart, Australia, Australian wild card and former champion Jarmila Gajdosova beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the Hobart International quarterfinals.
The Slovakian-born Gajdosova served well in windy conditions against Govortsova, who had beaten fifth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round.