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post #34 of (permalink) Old 10-04-2003, 11:48 AM
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Grosjean to meet Schuettler

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Japan Open
Top two seeds Rainer Schuettler and Sebastien Grosjean will meet in Sunday's final after contrasting semi-final wins.

Schuettler crushed Cyril Saulnier 6-3 6-2 and will go for his first title in two years on Sunday.

"If I lose the final, it will still be great week. If I win, it's a perfect week," he said.

In the second semi, Grosjean came through a gruelling three-set battle with Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan.

Grosjean, who was tied with Srichaphan at 12th in the ATP Champions Race before the match, gained the crucial break in the third game of the final set with a sharp backhand volley.

The second seed forced his opponent into a wild forehand on his first match point to wrap up victory in just over two hours and climb to 11th in the Champions Race.

Victory in Sunday's final would lift him above Australian Lleyton Hewitt into 10th. The top eight players qualify for the prestigious Masters Cup in Houston.

"The Masters was my goal at the start of the year... the same goal every year," said Grosjean.

"But Rainer doesn't miss. He's a good fighter and has all the shots. I have nothing to lose, so I will try to go to the net and be aggressive."

Schuettler is sixth in the Champions Race and edging ever closer to a Masters Cup berth.

The German was never seriously troubled by the unseeded Saulnier, who had advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final after Australian Mark Philippoussis retired with a sore neck during their match on Friday.

Saulnier saved a match point at 5-1 down in the second set and held three break points to pull back to 5-3 but Schuettler quickly quashed any hopes of a fightback.

The Australian Open finalist rattled off five straight points, closing out with a big serve on his second match point after just 76 minutes.

"I was a little bit upset (to be 0-40 down) but I had two breaks, so I tried to go for it with my first serves and play more high risk," said Schuettler.

C'mon Rainer, one more, time to win a final

Marat Safin David Nalbandiàn Roger Federer Juan Carlos Ferrero Rafael Nadal Carlos Moyà

Rainer Schüttler, Tommy Haas, Michail Youzhny, James Blake
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