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Davydenko, Robredo reach Paris Masters semis

Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko beats Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-3 to end the ninth-seeded Croat's bid to make the Masters Cup.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 16:07 IST

Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko beat Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-3 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters and ended the ninth-seeded Croat's bid to make the Masters Cup.

Sixth-seeded Tommy Robredo also reached the semifinals when he beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4. Robredo will now play Davydenko, who has yet to drop a set.

"I was playing against a much better guy today," Ancic said. "It's hard when you're dealing with Nikolay in the form he is. I have to be a man and say 'well done"'.

Davydenko believes he is in "the best indoor form" of his career. Davydenko has four titles this season and his 65 match wins is second only to top-ranked Roger Federer's 87.

Also, 17th-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia upset defending champion and No. 8 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

"I just have to say he was playing one of his best matches," Berdych said. "In the first set I had no chance. In the third set, it was the same. He was much better than me."

The season-ending Masters Cup, which starts November 12 in Shanghai, is reserved for the top eight players in the ATP Race.

Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic, Davydenko, Robredo and David Nalbandian have qualified so far.

Ancic's loss means the last place will go to either Tommy Haas or James Blake.

Haas needs to win the Paris Masters to overtake Blake, and he took a step closer by winning his quarterfinal against Marat Safin 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3.

"So far so good," Haas said. "I haven't been paying too much attention to Shanghai. I guess I'm pretty close now and the others will be sweating a little bit."

Safin had not lost at Bercy since falling to Andreas Vinciguerra in the third round in 2001.

Since then, the Russian and had won 13 straight - including titles in 2002 and 2004. He also won the tournament in 2000 and was runner-up in 1999. He missed 2003 and 2005 with injury.

"Everything has to end," Safin said. "Hopefully I'll be back next year a lot better, much more confident. I will come back and try and win it."

Safin's record at the Paris Masters dropped to 23-3, and he lost to Haas for the fourth time in six meetings, including this year in the fourth round at the US Open.

An even first set ended when Safin lost his composure during the tiebreaker, conceding the first six points. He screamed and flapped his arms, but his unforced errors were to blame.

Haas plays Hrbaty for a place in Sunday's final. They have met three times already this season and 13 times overall, with Haas having won eight.

"We know each other's games pretty well," Haas said. "I'm looking forward to playing him."

Robredo won the quarterfinal on his fourth match point when Finland's Nieminen sent a routine forehand long.

"I am hungry. I really want to push for it here," Robredo said. "I want to do great in Paris. I have a great chance to be in the final, and why not win it?"

In a 2-hour, 44-minute match of brutal rallies, Robredo used his drop shot to capitalize on his taller opponent's lack of mobility. "It's hard to win the point by hitting hard all the time," Robredo said. "Sometimes it (the drop shot) is the best way to win a point."

First Published: Nov 04, 2006 16:07 IST