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Old 01-30-2003, 06:11 PM   #106
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from CNNSI:

Malisse stunned by French qualifier

Posted: Thursday January 30, 2003 11:15 AM
MILAN, Italy (AP) -- Fifth-seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov qualified for the quarterfinals of the $380,000 Milan Indoor ATP tournament by defeating young Dane Kristian Pless 6-4, 6-3 in a second-round match Thursday.

Kefelnikov, a semifinalist in last year's edition of the competition and a Milan champion in 1995, held command of play and collected the points he needed in the key moments on the match on carpet at IOL arena.

The 28-year-old Russian, one of the eight players in Open era to win 25 singles and 25 doubles title, broke the unseeded Dane in the 10th game, to take the first set, and again in the second game of the second set to move 2-0.

On 5-4, Pless missed three break points. Then Kafelnikov rallied to 40-40, served one ace and won the match on an unforced error of the opponent.

Kafelnikov, who underwent vein surgery in his calf following Russia's triumph against France in the 2002 Davis Cup final, said he felt strong again after the operation.

"The operation went very well .... Before that I felt weaker. Now I'm trying to put myself in top shape. I have no goals for the season at the moment. I play because I like to play," he said, refusing to comment on his long rumored decision to retire.

Kafelnikov was included in the Russian team for the 2003 Davis Cup but the player said he was unlikely to play, not even the doubles.

In another second-round, match fourth-seeded Belgian Xavier Malisse wasted two match points in a decisive third set tie-break and tumbled against French qualifier Julien Varlet 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (6).

Malisse had the chance to reach his first quarterfinal of the season when he climbed to 6-4 in the tie breaker. He failed to take advantage of his serve and surrendered four consecutive points to the 25-year-old qualifier in a stunning defeat.

Malisse became the fifth of the seeded players eliminated in the initial rounds. Sixth-seeded Frenchman Fabrice Santoro pulled out of the first round blaming fatigue from Australian Open play, where he won the doubles title.

Meanwhile former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, a wild card entry in Milan, decided to pull out of Thursday's second-round doubles to concentrate on Friday's singles quarterfinal against eight-seeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen.

The 31-year-old Dutchman, who returned to action late last year following a 20-month absence due to elbow surgery, said he didn't want to overburden his operated elbow following Wednesday's tough second round victory, 3,6, 6-3, 7-6 (13), over Czech Radek Stepanek.
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Old 01-31-2003, 02:13 AM   #107
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Zhenya not gonna play in Davis Cup?


good luck in the QF 2nite....
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Old 02-01-2003, 10:43 AM   #108
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Milan revival for Kafel



Former world number one Yevgeni Kafelnikov defeated SwedenŐs Jonas Bjorkman 6-3 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Milan tournament. The 28-year old Russian, who went back on his decision to retire after last season, is now two wins away from his first tournament win of 2002.

Very funny Eurosport reporters

Anyway, good luck Zhenia in SF!!
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Old 02-01-2003, 10:48 AM   #109
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Kafelnikov and Nieminen Meet Again

Jarkko Nieminen ends Krajicek's run and Yevgeny Kafelnikov scores tenth win over Jonas Bjorkman.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov needed only two sets to defeat qualifier Jonas Bjorkman 6-3, 6-4 at the Breil ATP Milano Indoors Friday. It marked the fifth-seeded Russian's tenth consecutive win over the Swede, and he is now in his first semifinal since Moscow last season.

No. 8 seed Jarkko Nieminen came back from being a break down in each set to score a 7-6(7), 7-5 win over wild card Richard Krajicek. The 21-year-old Nieminen meets veteran Yevgeny Kafelnikov in Saturday's semifinals. The two last played in the second round of the Australian Open, and the Finn won that match in five sets.

What the Players Said

Kafelnikov: "I've had a little problem with my confidence lately. It's been a while since I won a few of matches in a row."

"The difference today is that I played more consistently on the big points."

"I think this is a good surface, you can play from the baseline or serve and volley."

SATURDAY PREVIEW

Yevgeny Kafelnikov is playing in his first semifinal since Moscow last year (l. to Sjeng Schalken). The Russian lost in the Milan semifinals in 2001 (l. to Roger Federer) and 1996 (l. to Marc Rosset) and captured the title in 1995 (d. Boris Becker in the final).


Get your revenge Zhenia today
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Old 02-02-2003, 12:46 AM   #110
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Kafelnikov, Verkerk advance to final

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SportsTicker


MILAN, Italy -- Martin Verkerk may be from the Netherlands, but he loves Italy.

After just eight months on the ATP Tour, Verkerk advanced to his first career final Saturday, defeating Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-1).

Verkerk's opponent in Sunday's championship match will be veteran Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who nearly retired following the 2002 season but advanced to his 46th career final with a 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 win over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.

Having won 26 career titles, Kakelnikov likely will be considered the favorite against Verkerk, who began the week just 9-17 in ATP Tour singles action and 78th in this year's Champions Race.

In a meeting between two big servers, the 24-year-old Verkerk recorded 21 aces en route to his second straight win against Ljubicic. He saved a break point early in the second set before cruising in the third-set tiebreaker.

"It's amazing," he said. "You dream about this. I won two challenger events in my career, but I've played on the ATP circuit for only eight months and now I have already reached one final."

The Dutch 18-under champion in 1995, Verkerk has made a final before in Italy, where he won his first Challenger circuit title.

"I lost seven Challenger finals before winning my first in Turin, so I will never forget Italy," he said. "I really like Milan - the shopping, the good restaurants. The weather has been so good this week and I've enjoyed walking around town with my coach."

Kafelnikov has enjoyed his week, especially after surgery for a varicose vein on his left leg in December nearly led to his retirement. He has not dropped a set this week.

"The week is going to be successful regardless of what happens in the final," said the 27-year-old Kafelnikov, a two-time Grand Slam tournament winner. "But I will try as hard as I can to add another title to my collection."

One of Kafelnikov's 26 career titles came here in 1995, when he was defeating the likes of Michael Stich, Goran Ivanisevic and Boris Becker.

"I'm in a completely different position now," said Kafelnikov, who is seeking his first title since 2001. "I was one of the best players myself, but now I feel like a new player. Whatever happened in the past is now history."

There is no history between Kafelnikov and Verkerk, who will be meeting for the first time. Kafelnikov knows he will have to be at the top of his game.

"He's an aggressive player, he's got a good serve and is very talented," Kafelnikov said. "It's going to be a difficult match. If I am off, he will outplay me."

[ESPN.com]
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Old 02-02-2003, 09:35 AM   #111
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Well done Zhenia

A title would be nice here
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Old 02-03-2003, 09:12 AM   #112
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Old 02-03-2003, 02:48 PM   #113
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Quote:
"I'm in a completely different position now," said Kafelnikov, who is seeking his first title since 2001.
What??
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Old 02-08-2003, 09:50 AM   #114
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Have I graced you all with the wonder that IS the Kafelnibutt photo yet?

In case I haven't, I think that it's fair to say that my use of Kafelnibutt is very fitting:
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File Type: jpg kafelnibutt.jpg (114.4 KB, 304 views)
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Old 02-11-2003, 10:43 PM   #115
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Kafelnikov must put ego aside, says Metreveli
2003-02-11 15:39:11 GMT (Reuters)
By Gennady Fyodorov

MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Former Soviet tennis great Alex Metreveli says that Yevgeny Kafelnikov must put his personal ego aside if he wants to help Russia retain their Davis Cup title.

"The times have changed," Metreveli, who holds almost every national Davis Cup record, including the number of ties played and career wins, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It's no longer the case when Kafelnikov was the undisputed leader of Russian tennis and alone could guide our team to victory in Davis Cup ties by winning all three of his matches.

"Now we have a much younger, more balanced team, where even if one key player is missing the others can step in and fill the void."

Metreveli, who now works as a commentator for Russian television NTV, added: "You saw it against France in Paris two months ago and have seen it now against the Czechs in Ostrava."

In last year's final, Mikhail Youzhny, 20, playing as a substitute for under-achieving Kafelnikov, came from two sets down to beat France's Paul-Henri Mathieu in the decisive singles rubber, clinching Russia their first Davis Cup title.

Last week, the Russians edged the Czech Republic in their first round World Group tie 3-2 despite missing their top player Marat Safin with a wrist injury.


AILING YOUZHNY

This time an out-of-sorts Kafelnikov, originally omitted from the original singles line-up, again failed to help his team as he replaced ailing Youzhny in the first match on the last day.

The former world number one appeared to put in little effort against Jiri Novak, losing 6-2 6-3 7-6.

But another Davis Cup newcomer, Nikolay Davydenko, pulled off a feat similar to Youzhny's final heroics as he fought back to beat Radek Stepanek 1-6 7-6 6-2 3-6 6-0 in the deciding singles to give Russia the win.

Metreveli criticised Kafelnikov's attitude.

"I don't know what was going through his mind," said the man, who became the first Soviet to play in a grand slam final when he reached the Wimbledon title match in 1973.

"He seems to be offended that Russia won the Davis Cup without his help because he is used to seeing himself as a hero. But after the historic win in Paris he was almost a forgotten man as all the accolades went to Youzhny and Safin instead."

"He came unprepared to Ostrava and the team captain had to almost beg him to play on the last day," Metreveli added.

"But his attitude changed after we won. On a plane back to Moscow I saw a different Kafelnikov. He smiled and talked of taking on Argentina in our next Davis Cup tie."

Metreveli said the Russians still need former world number one Kafelnikov if they want to stay among the Davis Cup elite.


FIGHTING FORM

"He is by far our best doubles player and with him in the line-up, with a healthy Safin and an inspired Youzhny it will be awfully difficult to beat our team on any surface," he said.

"The only question remains if Kafelnikov wants to put his personal ego aside and play a supporting role because he is not fit to play tough, five-set Davis Cup singles matches especially on clay.

And I'm not sure he still has the motivation or the desire to be the top singles player he once was."

Shamil Tarpishchev, Russian tennis chief and their Davis Cup captain, however, said he was not sure if Kafelnikov will make the team for their quarter-final clash with Argentina in April.

"I hope Safin will be back to his best form by April as he really wants to help the team," Tarpishchev told Russian daily Izvestia on Tuesday.

"But I'm not so sure that Kafelnikov, even if he regains his fighting form by then, will make our team because the Argentines will definitely choose a clay surface."
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Old 02-12-2003, 03:28 AM   #116
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The article I just posted was also on CNNSI with the following introduction:

"Russia edged the Czech Republic in their first round Davis Cup tie 3-2 on Sunday despite Yevgeny Kafelnikov again failing to help his team. Now former Soviet great Alex Metreveli says Kafelnikov must put his ego aside if he wants to help Russia retain the title."

So much for the doubles point, no?
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Old 02-12-2003, 12:36 PM   #117
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I think they are all taking him for granted just because he's not on his great form and that's the reason why he's not so enthusiastic about winning.
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Old 02-12-2003, 08:46 PM   #118
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I'm still a champion, says under-fire Kafelnikov
2003-02-12 12:57:19 GMT (Reuters)

MOSCOW, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Yevgeny Kafelnikov, heavily criticised in the Russian media for a perceived lack of effort during last week's Davis Cup action, insisted on Wednesday that he is still a champion and should not be written off just yet.

An out-of-sorts Kafelnikov, omitted from Russia's original singles line-up against the Czech Republic in last week's first round World Group tie in Ostrava, failed to help his team as he replaced ailing Mikhail Youzhny in the first match on Sunday.

The former world number one appeared to put in little effort against Jiri Novak, losing 6-2 6-3 7-6. He was criticised by both the media and fans.

"I don't know what was going through his mind," said former Soviet tennis great Alex Metreveli, who now works as a commentator for Russian television NTV.

"He came unprepared to Ostrava and the team captain had to almost beg him to play on the last day."

But Kafelnikov hit back, telling Sport-Express newspaper: "Let them, whoever they are, write me off... I don't care."

"The most important thing for me is what I feel inside and there I am still a champion," added the man who made history by becoming the first Russian to win a grand slam title when he lifted the French Open crown in 1996.

Despite Kafelnikov's poor showing and injury to Marat Safin, the defending champions beat the Czechs 3-2 to set up a quarter-final clash against Argentina in April.

Kafelnikov vowed to retire at the end of last year if he helped Russia win their first ever Davis Cup title, but after the historic victory over holders France in Paris he changed his mind and chose to carry on.

The 28-year-old, who also won the 1999 Australian Open and the Olympic gold medal in Sydney in 2000, has been hampered by poor form and lack of fitness following surgery to remove a varicose vain in his left leg last December.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:52 AM   #119
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Zhenia is playing in Rotterdam this week.

1st round match: he bt. F. Lopez 6-2 6-0

Well done, champ!
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Old 02-18-2003, 12:44 PM   #120
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Go Zhenya

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