Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Canas in finals of the Shanghai Open

PROFESSIONAL TENNIS TOUR Guillermo Canas of Argentina cruised to his 17th win in his last 18 matches after he defeated Jiri Novak 6-1, 6-2 in only 55 minutes

AP , SHANGHAI, CHINAAP, BEIJINGAP, SEOULAP, BANGKOKAP, HASSELT, BELGIUMAP, PALERMO

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova of Russia after defeating Anne Kremer of Luxembourg during asemifinal match at the Korea Open held in Olympics Park, Seoul, Saturday. Sharapova won 6-0, 6-2.

PHOTO: AP

Guillermo Canas booked his third finals appearance of the season with a 6-1, 6-2 victory yesterday over a faltering Jiri Novak at the Shanghai Open.

The Argentine dropped just three games in the 55-minute match to overpower Novak and knotch his 17th win in the last 18 matches.

"I feel great on the court," said Canas, whose world ranking has risen more than 100 places this year to 24th.

"I think I did very well. I did everything I needed to do, but I also know he didn't play the best he can," Canas said.

Novak had looked assured and on-form in previous matches, but never really found his game Saturday, conceding repeated unforced errors at Xian Xia Tennis Center.

"Today was a totally different day and I didn't feel the touch of the ball on my racket as before," the Czech said. "I was hitting it very hard but making so many mistakes."

It was Canas's second consecutive straight sets win against Novak, coming on after a 6-4, 6-0 victory in their last meeting at the 2002 Stuttgart semifinals.

Canas had been sidelined for much of 2003 following surgery, but already this year has collected titles at Stuttgart and Umag in Croatia.

"I'm very confident in my game," Canas said. "Day by day, I'm improving on the court."

Germany's Lars Burgsmuller and Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark played the other semifinal Saturday.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic downed Slovakia's Martina Sucha, 6-2, 7-5 yesterday to set up a finals showdown with Li Na of China at the Guangzhou International Women's Open.

Li Na advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over countrywoman Li Ting in the other semifinal in Guangzhou.

Li Na, one of four Asians to reach the final eight, knocked out second-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia on Wednesday in a second-round match.

The last seed, sixth-seeded Kristina Brandi of Puerto, crashed out Friday, losing to Li Na. Brandi was the only seeded player to make the final eight.

Top-seeded Gisela Dulko of Argentina was eliminated Thursday in the second round by unseeded Russian Dinara Safina, and No. 7 Australian Nicole Pratt was knocked out by Li Ting.

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova cruised into the final yesterday with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Luxembourg's Anne Kremer.

The top seeded Russian will face Poland's Marta Domachowska in the final.

Domachowska advanced after defeating American Abigail Spears 7-6 (5), 6-1.

The final match for the US$140,000 tournament will take place today at Seoul's Olympic Park.

Top ranked Roger Federer shrugged off a strong challenge by local hero Paradorn Srichaphan to take a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win yesterday and advance to the final.

Federer, who has won three Grand Slam titles this year, rallied from a second set loss to silence a partisan crowd at Impact Arena and stay on course for his 10th championship this year.

"I felt sorry for Paradorn," Federer said. "I understand how much this tournament meant to him."

Paradorn had Federer in trouble in the first set, before the top seeded Swiss rescued himself with some huge serves.

Federer's game was peppered with errors in the second set, as the Asian No. 1 refused to give up home of a homecourt final.

Paradorn maintained his pressure in the deciding set, but Federer gained a break and didn't let it slip away.

Former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters advanced her comeback to the semifinals of the Gaz de France Stars on Friday when she topped Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-4.

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