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Familiar US foes to clash in Classic semis

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/01/2017 Ben Leahy

American tennis players Steve Johnson and Jack Sock expect few surprises from each other in the ASB Classic semi-finals when they clash as the highest-ranked remaining seeds.

The seventh-seeded Johnson and fourth-seeded Sock agree forehand dominance is going to be key in a battle of heavy hitting that should entertain the fans.

"Any time you've got to play another American, there is really no secrets," twenty-seven-year-old Johnson said.

"We know exactly how he is going to play, what he is going to do."

"He has got one of the best forehands on tour. You can be prepared as much as you like, but you never know, sometimes it comes down to a couple shots where it can go both ways."

"You have to poke and prod and hope to find a crack."

Sock, 24, agrees, saying Johnson is no mystery to him either.

"He's got a great serve and forehand similar to me (and) slices pretty much every back hand," he said.

"So it is just gonna be probably about who gets the court positioning (and) who dictates the forehand is gonna come out on top."

At stake for the man with the best forehand is a place in the ASB Classic final against either No.8 seed Marcos Bagdatis or Portuguese player Joao Sousa.

Johnson hopes he can win so he can indulge a little longer in a tournament he loves.

"The city is great, the people are great, I enjoy walking to dinner down by the Sky Tower, so it's been fun (here) every year," he said.

"Hopefully, I will be back for many years to come."

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