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Old 02-24-2007, 07:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mikhail Youzhny: Articles & Interviews

Youzhny survives three match points in semi-finals

Once again Mikhail Youzhny saluted the crowd in all directions, tipping his head with his racket. He was rewarded for his efforts by a standing ovation after he beat Novak Djokovic in what already could be called the match of the tournament. In an edge-of-the-seat match that took as long as two hours and 46 minutes and kept the crowd fascinated from beginning to end, he survived three match points. With a final score of 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, the Russian stylist secured himself a place in the finals.

Does tennis get any better? You’re inclined to say no after seeing this performance. It was hard, harder, hardest and good, better, best. But then there’s always Roger Federer… Anyway, this match had everything that makes tennis so sublime. Spectacular rallies, subtle drop shots and passes, smashes, impossible volleys, changing odds, tension and emotion. Both Youzhny and Djokovic must have felt completely drained after this match.
There was scarcely any difference between the players, but when the youngest of the two got his first match point in the tiebreak of the second set, it really looked as if he was going to win… But Djokovic, only nineteen years of age, couldn’t score the winning point and lost the tiebreak, thanks to a fantastic backhand along the line of his five year older opponent who seems to have a patent on this shot.

Despite his youth, the Serbian number five seed is one of the most striking personalities of the tournament and came out on top in the tiebreak. In the final set he took a 3-0 lead. But it didn’t take long for Youzhny to come back and he finally managed to cash in a breakpoint, his sixth of the match. At 5-4, Djokovic gained another two match points on his opponent’s service. But, alas, to no avail.

Both players continued to play at a very high level. Djokovic: “I didn’t lose because of the mistakes I made, but because Youzhny scored some very good points. I sincerely congratulate him. He really deserved it.” This was somewhat beside the truth. Because at 5-5 he gave away his service game partly due to two double faults. Youzhny took professional advantage. And contrary to Ivan Ljubicic, he didn’t promise the crowd a drink in the event of his victory. “Ljubicic made that promise the last time too and then he lost the finals,” he said laughing.”
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