Safin beats Hewitt in qaurters

Marat Safin defeated Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 7-6 (2) in a gripping quarter-final match in the Paris Masters on Friday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Paris:Sixth-seeded Marat Safin defeated second seed Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 7-6 (2) in a gripping quarter-final match in the Paris Masters on Friday. Safin served 10 aces in a display full of astonishing power-hitting and moments of improvised genius to move a step closer to his third Paris Masters title. In the rematch of the 2002 final, Hewitt rallied in the second set, breaking Safin to pull back to 5-5 and force a tiebreak, but the Australian could not hold the momentum. Safin eventually completed victory 6-4 7-6 (2). The Russian has never won a tournament three times and, should he make it this weekend, he would emulate Boris Becker, the only player with a trio of titles in Bercy. The Russian struck 10 aces in the 100-minute match, and won 80 percent of his points on his first serve. "I was feeling comfortable on the court. Full of confidence and I was serving well. But then there was the problem of closing the match and he just came up with great shots. I got a little bit nervous and tried to finish quickly and maybe I rushed a little, but then I played a good tie-break - I was focused and tried to stay calm and I was playing very well, said Safin. He will face 13th seed Guillermo Canas of Argentina in Saturday's semi-finals. Canas cruises Canas cruised past Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3. While both were capable of some splendid attacking strokes it was Lopez who proved too error prone and Canas sealed the first set 6-3. At 1-1 in the second set, Canas fell awkwardly and had to receive treatment to his left ankle. He returned with heavy strapping and moved tentatively around the court as the players held service games. Canas held again before making the decisive break to move 4-2 up. He served for the match and clinched victory when Lopez hit a wild forehand into the net. Last month, Lopez defeated Canas over five sets in Vienna to win his first title of the year. But Canas proved too strong this time around and is now chasing his fourth title this season. "I'm very happy to be in the semi-final. It's my first semi-final in a Masters Series this year and it's a dream for me to end the year like this," said Canas. Radek Stepanek's semi-final showing is his best result so far, having exited at the quarter-final stage in five tournaments. He broke Mikhail Youzhny, who won at St Petersburg recently, at the start of the second set and then raced to a 4-1 lead. Under pressure on serve, Youzhny saved five break points to stay in the match at 4-2 down, but could not disrupt Stepanek's steady, accurate game - punctuated by the occasional brilliant drop shot. Stepanek will now face Max Mirnyi after the Belarussian struggled to a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over Swedish prospect Robin Soderling. (AP)

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