St. Petersburg Open 2002 :: international tennis tournament
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Press release #7
Offenders of Kafelnikov, Safin and Agassi confirm their ambitions

Intrigue of the event 5th day mainly came to an issue, whether the offenders of Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Marat Safin and Andre Agassi confirm their ambitions and advance to the semifinal or the previous day victories were nothing more than a lucky episode in tennis players' carrier. Besides the St.Petersburg audience it was of great importance whether Mikhail would be capable of supporting the image of Russian tennis player.

In the first match the tournament No.3 France's Sebastian Grosjean has defended the reputation of seeded players and didn't let further advance of the Slovak Dominik Hrbaty who had seen off Yevgeny Kafelnikov on the day before.

At first, Hrbaty had taken the advantage but then Grosjean began to diverse his game playing at the net more often. Hrbaty in turn, was not untired when coming up to the middle of the second set. As to the third set it just turned into a formality.

- I do not know, will I advance to the final or not, but it is tough to play here in St.Petersburg since the Main Draw players appeared to be very hard, - said Grosjean after the match.

- Where and when do you plan to prepare for the Davis Cup final?
- After the Masters tournament in Paris I'll take a 10 days holyday, and start training on clay on November 16.

Grosjean's rival in semifinal was determined in the match of another Slovak Karol Kucera and the Argentine Gaston Gaudio. The same as in the match to Agassi, Kucera started worse than his rival did. He even lost the first set. The situation changed in the middle of the second set after Kucera had made a break in the 6th game. In the third set his prevail became even more obvious.

- Today the game was the same difficult as yesterday against Agassi. But now I can say that the victory over Agassi was not in vain, - Karol Kucera smiled after the match.

- Tomorrow you are to play to Grosjean who has won over your compatriot Dominik Hrbaty today. If you are friends will you enter the court thinking of revenge?
- (laughs) We are friendly and it would be good if the Slovak player could win the tournament.

In the third quarterfinal the Russia's Mikhail Youzhny overplayed in brilliant style the Romanian Andrei Pavel who was another seeded player. The sixth game became the key of the first set. By then Youzhny was leading 3-1, but suddenly he got problems on his serve. It would be enough to say chair umpire announced deuce five times. Pavel had made a break but the Russian survived and won not only that game, but the two next ones: 6-1. Youzhny had started the second set with a break too, and then went wide, but not for long. The first set story repeated in the second one.

Deuce in the 7th game (serves Youzhny) was followed by the break in the 8th one, bringing a win to the Russian player.

- Whom would you like to play in the semifinal?
- That doesn't really matter, - said Mikhail Youzhny

- Don't you feel the increased responsibility being a favorite of the crowd and the only Russian of those who stay?
- No, I feel as usual. When entering the court I can't think of whether we are four or I'm alone. And it helps when playing at home with the native audience.

- On the court you are much more aggressive than in everyday life. What is your true nature?
- (laughs) It's a difficult question. Probably, somewhere in between.

At last in the final match the Byelorussian Vladimir Voltchkov has proved that his win over Marat Safin is not an accidental. All though, the German Nicolas Kiefer seemed to do his best to prevent Voltchkov from advancing to the semifinal. But he appeared to be helpless against the Byelorussian's confident play.

Karol Kucera (SVK) - Gaston Gaudio (ARG) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Sebastian Grosjean (FRA) - Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) 4-6 6-3 6-2
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) - Andrei Pavel (ROM) 6-1 6-3
Vladimir Voltchkov (RUS) - Nicolas Kiefer (GER) 7-5 7-5

P.Luxa/ S.David (CZE/CZE) - J.Tarango /K.Braasch (USA/GER) 6-3 6-4


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