Hard-serving Ljubicic faces Blake in Bangkok final
Power-hitting Ivan Ljubicic will aim to stay untouchable on serve when he faces James Blake in Sunday's final of the Thailand Open.india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 21:49 IST
Power-hitting Ivan Ljubicic will aim to stay untouchable on serve when he faces James Blake in Sunday's final of the Thailand Open.
The Croatian showed why he was seeded number one at this tournament, demolishing local hero Paradorn Srichaphan 6-3, 6-2 in a semi-final encounter on Saturday lasting just 67 minutes. Ljubicic served his 17th ace to seal the match against the Thai.
Ljubicic, the world number three, is now close to clinching a place in November's season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The 27-year-old Ljubicic faces Blake, the world number nine, who earlier denied Marat Safin his first tournament final in more than a year after staging a comeback to win 3-6, 6-4,7-6 (7/3).
The Croatian vowed to come out firing when he goes for his fifth win without loss against Blake, who is also chasing a Shanghai spot on provisional seventh position thanks to his debut-week run in Bangkok.
"My serve is my big weapon, that's where I earn my wins," said Ljubicic.
"When you have a weapon you'd better use it," said the holder of 2006 titles in Chennai and Zagreb.
"Blake will be counting on his forehand, that's a shot that I have to stop."
Ljubicic has now won five in a row over Paradorn, who staged a miracle recovery in the quarter-finals to beat Tim Henman from 5-2 down in the final set. Paradorn was competing in a second straight semi-final after achieving the last four at Beijing.