LOS ANGELES — Former Illini tennis player Rajeev Ram knocked off third-seeded Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 7-6 (3), 6-3 Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Farmers Classic.
The unseeded and 117th-ranked Ram is one win from an ATP Tour title match for the second time this month. He also reached the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., before losing to former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt.
"It just didn't happen overnight," the 28-year-old Ram said of his recent resurgence. "I kind of re-evaluated my tennis. Not like, 'Do I want to keep playing?' but just how I was going about it and trying to make improvements.
"I felt like I was giving away too much. I felt like I was giving too many points away, both mentally and by going for too much, and (needed) just to find a way to make more guys beat me. ... If a guy beats me by hitting more winners, then he beats me."
Ram finished with a 37-29 advantage against the 64th-ranked Mayer in points won on first serves.
Ram will meet the winner of Friday's late quarterfinal match between second-seeded Sam Querrey and fifth-seeded Xavier Malisse in the semifinals today.
Ex-Illini ninth at Illinois Open. Former Illini Nora Lucas, who entered the final 18 holes of the Illinois Women's Open as a co-leader, finished ninth Friday at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville.
Lucas shot a 5-over-par 77 in the third round en route to a 220 total. The Chicago native ended up 5 strokes behind Samantha Troyanovich of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., who won a three-way playoff for the title.
Illini commitment Stephanie Miller, who shared the 36-hole lead with Lucas, placed 12th after shooting a final-round 80. Miller, a senior-to-be at Lincolnshire Stevenson, finished at 223.
Two other former Illini played Friday after making the 36-hole cut. Megan Godfrey of Chicago tied for 28th after shooting a 75 for a 234 total. Samantha Sloan of Lansing carded a 78 and tied for 37th at 237.