Agassi Pulls from Stockholm

Agassi Pulls from Stockholm; Which Player Tested Positive at the French?

<SMALL>Posted on October 01, 2005</SMALL>

Murray Star Keeps Rising at ATP Bangkok

Brit-Scot Andy Murray's break-out week continued Friday at the ATP stop in Bangkok, with the unseeded teenager defeating US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to gain his first tour-level semifinal berth.

"Winning against two Top 50 players in a row is a pretty big deal for me, and to get to my first semifinal is also great," said Murray, who will now face Paradorn Srichaphan. "It's going to be a big match for me and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not expected to win, but if I play like I did today I think I've got a very good chance. I would like to get through to the final and play my first ATP final against the best player in the world."

Which would be Roger Federer, who dodged giant-killer Gilles Muller with a 6-4, 6-3 performance.
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"It was a dangerous match," said Federer of the player who beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and Andy Roddick at the US Open. "Thank God I got off to a good start and that calmed things down a little bit. I really tried after that, every service game I played, to stay very focused and not give him too much of a chance. I don't remember him having any break points so I was never under pressure too much. Today was just solid and consistent, what was needed. No real flashy play, and that's probably what I've got to do again tomorrow."

Srichaphan advanced into the semifinals when No. 2 seed Lleyton Hewitt withdrew with a groin pull.

"In my practice today I overstretched the inside left of my groin which had been stiff from training and especially after the match over [Justin] Gimelstob last night," Hewitt said.

Also into the semis was No. 6 seed Jarkko Nieminen who ended the run of Taipei's Yeu-Tzuoo Wang with a 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 win.

Saturday's semifinal match-ups are (1) Federer vs. (6) Nieminen (Federer leads career meetings 6-0) and Murray vs. (7) Srichaphan (first meeting), and in doubles (3) Aspelin/Perry vs (2) Erlich/Ram, and (1) Hanley/Paes vs. Bhupathi/Gimelstob.

Puerta Survives Punishment at ATP Ho Chi Minh

Top-seeded Mariano Puerta survived his second consecutive third-set tiebreak Friday at the ATP stop in Ho Chi Minh to move into the semifinals with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) win over Germany's Rainer Schuettler.

"I finished this match really tired, I have pain in all my body," Puerta said. "I'll try to sleep well. Maybe tomorrow I won't play three sets."

Puerta was joined in the semis by the No. 2 and 3 seeds in Thomas Johansson (d. (5) Saulnier) and Radek Stepanek (d. (6) Monaco), along with unseeded Swede Jonas Bjorkman (d. Waske).

"Today was very tough," Johansson said. "I've played Cyril twice before and lost both times, and the last time we played three hours and 40 minutes. We have very tough matches. The first set was so much running for both me and Cyril. He hasn't felt himself the past few days, so I think he got tired in the second."

For Bjorkman it is his first singles semifinal since 2003.

"From the start of 2004 when I was No. 30 in the world, I've been struggling to play consistently, it's been very up and down and unfortunately that meant dropping in the rankings," Bjorkman said. "The last few months, I've played more singles and less doubles, and I'm playing much better."

On tap for Saturday are (1) Puerta vs. Bjorkman (Swede won their only meeting on clay in 2003), and (2) T.Johansson vs. (3) Stepanek (Swede won their lone meeting in straights earlier this year at Rotterdam).

Seppi Beats Rain Into Semis at ATP Palermo

Rain stopped the completion of play Friday at the ATP claycourt stop in Palermo, but not before three unseeded players advanced into the semifinals.

No. 3 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero's dark-cloud season continued when the former No. 1-ranked Spaniard blew three match points in a 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-5 loss to Germany's Tomas Behrend.

"Tennis is an incredible sport," Behrend said. "I was match point down in the second set, then 4-0 down in the third, and it wasn't against an inexperienced player, it was Ferrero, a Roland Garros winner. I kept believing in myself and going for my shots."

Other winners were 21-year-old Italian Andreas Seppi (d. 31-year-old countryman (8) Sanguinetti), and Russian Igor Andreev (d. A.Martin).

"He (Sanguinetti) had beaten me badly at Wimbledon so I wanted to get the revenge," Seppi said. "I did not want to give him too many angles so I played more in the middle. It was good to win in two sets after my two marathon matches the first two rounds."

Scheduled for Saturday is (2) Robredo vs. (6) Volandri, Andreev vs. Seppi, then Behrend vs. (6) Volandri or (2) Robredo.

Two Chinese Into Semis at WTA Guangzhou

Chinese women featured in all four quarterfinal matches Friday at the WTA stop in Guangzhou, and two made it through safely to the semifinals with No. 5 seed Jie Zheng upsetting No. 4 Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-7(10), 6-1, and Zi Yan defeating countrywoman Na Li 7-6 in the third.

The remainder of the losers were Chinese with 16-year-old Belarus qualifier Victoria Azarenka defeating Shuai Peng when the No. 2 seed retired with heat illness at a set down, and Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives edged Ting Li 7-6 in the third.

Lining up for the Saturday semis are Yan vs. Azarenka, and Llagostera Vives vs. Zheng.

Top 3 Seeds Advance Into Semis at WTA Seoul

Top 3 seeds Jelena Jankovic (d. (6) Douchevina from a set down), Nicole Vaidisova (d. (8) Bartoli), and Tatiana Golovin (d. (5) Sugiyama) advanced into the semifinals Friday at the WTA stop in Seoul.

Joining the seeds was Colombia's Catalina Castano, who came from a set down to win the all-unseeded battle with American Laura Granville 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Scheduled for the Saturday semifinals are Jankovic vs. Golovin, and Castano vs. the 16-year-old Vaidisova.

Clijsters Streak to 18 at WTA Luxembourg

Top-seeded Kim Clijsters won her 18th consecutive match this year on Friday at the WTA stop in Luxembourg, defeating No. 6 seed Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-5.

"It was a tough match against her but fun at the same time," Clijsters said. "We had some tough rallies and it was pretty hard physically because I needed to be on my toes and change positions fast to be on top of the point. The key was really to move well and set myself for an easy shot."

Clijsters is shooting for her fourth consecutive title after wins at Los Angeles, Toronto and the US Open.

German rising star Anna-Lena Groenefeld provided the lone upset on the day, coming from a set down to defeat No. 2 seed Nadia Petrova 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

"I feel pretty happy because that's my first win against a Top 10 player," Groenefeld said.

Also into the semis were (4) Nathalie Dechy (d. Hantuchova), and (7) Dinara Safina (d. Vinci from set down).

Saturday's semifinals will feature Safina vs. Groenefeld, and Clijsters vs. Dechy.