Mon, Feb 28, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Federer rips past Agassi to reach the finals in Dubai

AP , DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Roger Federer thrashed Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-1 in the Dubai Open on Saturday and will meet Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in a third final this year.

Top-seeded Federer beat fourth-seeded Agassi for a sixth straight time, and even more impressively than his straight-sets victory in the Australian Open quarterfinals last month.

Federer, the two-time defending Dubai champion, will play eighth-seeded Ljubicic only a week after barely edging the big-serving Croat in the Rotterdam final. Last month, Federer downed Ljubicic in the Doha final.

"Hopefully, I will have a few spectators on my side tomorrow," Ljubicic said after firing 13 aces to knock out fifth-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

Federer and Agassi had to double up on the day after beating Russian opponents in quarterfinals which had been postponed from Friday, because of rain. Federer downed seventh-seeded Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-5, and Agassi topped No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Australian Wayne Arthurs earned his second career final appearance with a 7-5, 7-6 (2) semifinal victory over Christophe Rochus of Belgium.

Arthurs, 33 and the second-oldest player on the ATP Tour, advanced to today's final against the winner of the other semifinal match between defending champion Vince Spadea of the US and No. 3 seed Mario Ancic of Croatia.

Top-seeded Flavia Pennetta breezed past fellow Italian Antonella Serra Zanetti, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the women's final for the second successive year.

She will meet Slovakia's Ludmila Cervanova, who upset fifth-seeded Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinals.

Pennetta fell in last year's final to Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic. This year she's made a better start, winning in Bogota last weekend for her second career title.

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova rallied to beat fourth-seeded Alicia Molik of Australia 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the finaland earn her second WTA Tour title this month.

"It was a great match with lots of tense moments," said Sharapova. "I couldn't do anything in the first set because Alicia played so well."

Molik broke second-seeded Sharapova in the third game for the first set, and appeared headed for her second singles title.

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