Sat, Jan 08, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Slovakia, Argentina about to face off

PRO TENNIS TOUR Argentina qualified for the final Thursday when Germany's Tommy Haas retired hurt from his singles match and Germany later defaulted what would have been the deciding doubles match

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The Rochus-Kiefer match ended controversially when a bad line call went against Kiefer late in the third set. The German player exchanged angry words with the umpire and linesman, and moments later lost the match and stormed off the court.

Rochus said his opponent had been on the wrong end of a poor call.

"I think it was clearly out," Rochus said.

Australian Samantha Stosur advanced to her first WTA final with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 win Friday over fifth-seeded Silvia Farina Elia of Italy at the Australian women's hardcourt tennis championships.

Stosur saved one break point at 1-1 in the final set, then won five consecutive games to take the match. It was her third win over a seeded player this week, having beaten fourth-seeded Karolina Sprem of Croatia and eighth-seeded Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva earlier.

Farina Elia was scheduled to face top-seeded Nadia Petrova in the quarterfinals before the Russian withdrew because of a back injury, giving the Italian player a walkover to the semifinal.

Stosur will play second-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, who beat Russian-born Tatiana Golovin of France 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal Friday.

Top-seeded Amy Frazier of the US beat Russia's Tatiana Panova 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-2 Friday to reach the semifinals of the ASB Women's Tennis Classic.

Frazier, 31, dropped a set for the first time in the tournament before earning a semifinal place against fourth-seeded Shinobu Asagoe of Japan.

Singles, quarterfinals and doubles semifinals were moved indoors Friday as tournament organizers made up a backlog of matches caused by two days of rain.

No matches were completed Thursday and organizers made the decision to go indoors for the first time in the tournament's history.

Asagoe led Janette Husarova of Slovakia 5-2 in the first set when Husarova retired with an abdominal strain. The Japanese player won her second-round match when her opponent, American Shenay Perry, was forced to retire with a knee injury.

Fifth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France came from a set down to beat second-seeded Janette Jankovic of Serbia 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1. Bartoli also made the semifinals at Auckland in 2004.

Roger Federer beat No. 7 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the US$1 million Qatar Open, his third straight-set victory in four days.

The top-ranked Swiss, who extended his unbeaten streak to 20 matches dating back to August, needed only 53 minutes to dispatch Lopez.

He raced through the first set in 22 minutes, serving six aces and capitalizing on his opponent's injured ankle.

"I think I played better than I did [against Greg Rusedski on Wednesday]," Federer said. "I was able to put pressure on Lopez from the very beginning. He tried to change tactics after I broke him in the first set, but I kept on serving well to keep him on the back foot."

Federer broke Lopez twice more in the second set, advancing past the quarterfinals where he was beaten last year by American Jan-Michael Gambil.

"I am delighted with the way I am playing right now," Federer said. "Everything I try is coming off. I guess when you keep playing well, anything you try comes off. For me personally, it was a very entertaining match though the fans might think differently."

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