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Murray and Ancic set up for final clash

sports Updated: Feb 17, 2008 19:11 IST

AFP
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Mario Ancic's journey on the long road back from the crippling illness which halted his career enjoyed another boost when he reached the Marseille final.

The 23-year-old Croatian, a former world number seven who missed six months last season and saw his ranking slump to 135, eased past Cypriot sixth seed Marcos Baghatis 6-4, 6-2 to reach his first final since October 2006.

In today's final, he will face British fourth seed Andy Murray, who put out eighth-seeded Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-2.

Ancic made the final here two years ago while the 2007 edition turned out to be his last when a first round exit prefaced his long absence caused by mononucleosis, an ailment whose symptoms include enlargement of the spleen and an inflamed liver.

Even after coming back in August a shoulder injury meant he had to miss the US Open.

Playing here as a wild-card, Anic took 80 minutes to see off Baghdatis.

He clinched the first break in the ninth game of the first set and eased through the second set against an error-plaged opponent.

"He played very well and it was tough to get into a rhythm," said Baghdatis.

"Perhaps I was tired, but that's not an excuse."

Murray made the final just a week after he controversially pulled out of Britain's Davis Cup trip to Argentina.

"This was without doubt one of my best matches since my return from injury," said Murray, referring to the elbow and wrist injuries that dogged him last year.