Federer advances to Italian Open final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/R/Rogerfederer.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer advanced to the Italian Open final when Juan Carlos Ferrero retired while trailing in the second set today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Roger Federer advanced to the Italian Open final when Juan Carlos Ferrero retired while trailing in the second set today. The fourth-seeded Swiss native was leading 6-2, 4-2 (30-0) when Ferrero shyly waved his hand to signal "enough." The second-seeded Spaniard told Federer and the chair umpire that he was suffering from an arm injury. Ferrero came into the match having won 21 of 22 clay-court matches this season, including titles in Monte Carlo last month and Valencia last weekend. In the final of this US$2.75 million clay-court tune-up for the French Open, Federer will face either Russian veteran Yevgeny Kafelnikov or Spanish clay-courter Felix Mantilla, who were playing in the other semifinal later today. Federer, who extended his leading match victory total this season to 36, was in complete control before the match was stopped short. He broke Ferrero's serve midway through the first set to go 3-1 and then closed out the opening set with another break when Ferrero's weak forehand did not reach the net. The match began to unravel with Federer leading 3-2 and up 40-30 on Ferrero's serve. Federer hit a ball that appeared long, but was not called out, and chair umpire Mike Morrissey started to get out of his seat to check the mark before the point was finished. After Federer had hit a ball into the net to end the rally and Morrissey had established that the initial error was out, a loud fan began to disrupt an argument between player and umpire. As the fan became the centre of attention by shouting and throwing small items at Federer's feet, the rest of the crowd got into the fray by telling him to shut up. After play finally resumed at deuce, Federer broke again to go up 4-2. Two points later, Ferrero gave up. Despite the surprising conclusion, the crowd applauded both players' efforts. In Sunday's final, Federer will be aiming for his fourth title of the year and second in two weeks after capturing the trophy in Munich last weekend. (AP)

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