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Philippoussis in Den Bosch semis

June 18, 2005 08:56 IST

Australian wildcard Mark Philippoussis continued his renaissance by beating Italian Davide Sanguinetti 7-6, 7-6 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Ordina Open.

In overcast, breezy conditions, the 2003 Wimbledon runner-up recovered from 5-2 down in the second set to advance to his first semi-final since September 2003.

Philippoussis, who has slipped to 188 in the rankings after a series of injuries, now plays defending champion Michael Llodra of France.

Llodra went through with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 triumph over German Lars Burgsmueller.

Having taken the first-set tiebreak 7-2, Philippoussis broke serve in the opening game of the second before dropping his own serve twice as the unseeded Sanguinetti forged 5-2 ahead.

But, after the Italian failed to serve out the set at 5-3, Philippoussis won the tiebreak 7-0.

"I am at my best when I am aggressive," Philippoussis told reporters. "I served well at the important moments and was aggressive in the tiebreaks."

The Australian is chasing his first title since Shanghai 21 months ago.

"Considering I wasn't even going to play here, I am pretty pleased with how it's going," he said.

Unseeded Czech Jan Hernych booked his place in the last four with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Hernych will meet third seed Mario Ancic of Croatia, who put out unseeded Swede Jonas Bjorkman 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.


Klara Koukalova and Lucie Safarova will contest an all-Czech women's final after both players recorded straight-sets victories.

Eighth seed Koukalova reached the final for the second consecutive year by defeating American Meghann Shaughnessy 6-1, 7-5. Unseeded 18-year-old Safarova saw off sixth seed Gisela Dulko of Argentina 6-3, 6-3.

Koukalova, who lost to Frenchwoman Mary Pierce in last year's final, eased past a wayward Shaughnessy, whose usually reliable serve let her down.

The American squandered a 4-2 lead in the second set and three set points as Koukalova recorded a deserved victory.

"I was a little nervous but she didn't serve very well in the first set and on the set points. I think I was a bit lucky that she didn't hit a big serve," Koukalova told reporters.

World number 80 Safarova, playing in only her fifth WTA Tour event, looked fearless as she dismissed Dulko, who is ranked 37th.

Dulko struggled to cope with the left-hander's vicious serve, particularly to her forehand.

After breaking for a 4-2 lead, Safarova hit an ace to clinch the opening set and though there were six breaks of serve in the second, Safarova wrapped up victory when Dulko dumped a backhand into the net.

"There was no reason for me to be nervous today because I was already in the semi-final," Safarova said.

"Of course, I wanted to be in the final, but it was good for me to be in the semi-final. Every round I win is good for me."

Koukalova said one of the secrets behind her success this week was regular trips to a favourite restaurant.

"McDonald's," she said. "We have been there every night and we'll be there tonight."

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