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Aus Open: Nalbandian advances to semifinals

Fourth-seeded David Nalbandian won the last 14 games of the match to beat France's Fabrice Santoro 7-5, 6-0, 6-0.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 10:18 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Fourth-seeded David Nalbandian beat France's Fabrice Santoro 7-5, 6-0, 6-0 on Tuesday and advance to the semifinals at the Australian Open.

Nalbandian will play the winner of Tuesday's later quarterfinal between No 7 Ivan Ljubicic and unseeded Marcos Baghdatis.

It was Santoro's first quarterfinal appearance in his 54th Grand Slam, while Nalbandian improved his record in major quarterfinals to 4-5 and against the 33-year-year-old Frenchman to 2-2.

In the 51-minute first set, the pair exchanged service breaks before Santoro, serving to stay in the set at 6-5, was broken.

At 0-30, Santoro had a rare ace but on his next point hit a backhand wide before Nalbandian blasted a forehand to the opposite corner to take the set, shouting "Si".

Nalbandian broke Santoro again in the second game of the second set en route to a 3-0 lead as he began to dominate the match with booming passing shots from the baseline.

He finished off the set in 25 minutes with an overhead smash volley.

Nalbandian, 24, closed out the match in 1 hour, 41 minutes, by breaking Santoro for the eighth time.

It is the first time that Nalbandian has reached the Australian Open semifinals, and completes a set of semifinal appearances at all four Grand Slams.

He lost the Wimbledon final in 2002 to Lleyton Hewitt.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 10:18 IST