BARCELONA, Spain — Illinois sprinter Ashley Spencer moved one step closer Thursday in her bid to win a title at track and field's World Junior Championships.
The Illini sophomore-to-be ran the second-fastest time in the semifinals of the women's 400 meters to easily advance to today's finals.
Spencer, the reigning NCAA champion in the 400, won her heat in 52.24 seconds. The top semifinal time was turned in by fellow American Erika Rucker, who finished in 52.05.
Ex-Illini Ram upsets No. 2 seed. Former Illini Rajeev Ram upset second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I.
Ram knocked off the world's 18th-ranked player 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the quarterfinals. He will face Lleyton Hewitt, a former world No. 1 who is in the draw as a wild-card entry, on Saturday.
"Lleyton is someone I grew up watching on TV," the 118th-ranked Ram said. "I respect him a lot."
Ram won the Hall of Fame Championships in 2009. It remains the lone ATP Tour singles title of his career.