© Kate Whitney Lucey

Steve Johnson defeats Dudi Sela in Newport on Friday to reach his fourth tour-level semi-final of the season.

Johnson Closing On Second Title Of 2018

Third seed will play Granollers for a spot in Newport final

American Steve Johnson moved closer to capturing his fourth title on Friday, defeating Israeli Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-3 in 58 minutes to reach the semi-finals at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open.

"It feels good," Johnson said. "You come here to Newport, you come to an event, you expect to at least give yourself a chance at being here at the end of the week. Now we're here, and I'm just going to keep putting my best foot forward."

In April, Johnson retained his trophy at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, his third victory at tour-level. The third seed’s first triumph came two years ago on the grass in Nottingham.

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Johnson will face Marcel Granollers in the semi-final, after the Spaniard upset top seed Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-1 in 61 minutes. Entering the week, the 32-year-old had just a 10-18 tour-level record on grass. But he won 52 per cent of return points against the Frenchman to move into his first ATP World Tour singles semi-final since 2015 in Zagreb.

The American has won both of the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with their most recent match coming at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open. But he isn't putting much stock into those victories, both on hard courts. 

"That's not going to play into effect here," Johnson said. "He's a great tennis player. He's won 500s, he's no slouch. He's a Grand Slam doubles champion. So he knows how to come in and be aggressive. He's a tough competitor and I know he's going to come out tomorrow guns blazing and I'm going to try to do the same."

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