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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 07:57 PM   #1
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Russian Dressing: Qatar Semis Feature Russian Flavor

Russian Dressing: Qatar Semis Feature Russian Flavor

By Tennis Week
02/14/2003

The Qatar Open semifinals will feature a decidedly Russian flavor. Three of the four players advancing to the final four — Anastasia Myskina, Elena Likhovtseva and Lina Krasnoroutskaya — are Russian. Joining the trio in the semis is Austrian Patricia Wartusch, who dropped a dismal first set before rallying for a 0-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over eighth-seeded Australian Nicole Pratt in Doha today.

The second-seeded Myskina found herself staring into the eyes of a familiar face — friend and practice partner Dinara Safina — in registering a 6-2, 7-5 quarterfinal victory.

The first set resembled a practice session as Myskina drilled cross-court combinations to race out to a 4-0 lead. Safina, the younger sister of seventh-ranked Marat Safin, refused to yield after her slow start and tied the second set at 5-5 before Myskina won the final two games to secure a semifinal spot.

"It was tough to play against a friend and training partner as we know each other's game very well," Myskina said. "Of course it was easy in the first set, but in the second she played better and although I wanted to finish it off early, she kept on coming back. I'm happy that I was able to wrap it up when I did."

It took Likhovtseva only 80 minutes to dismiss third-seeded Magdalena Maleeva, 6-4, 6-2. Playing relatively clean tennis, Likhovtseva's backhand frequently found the corners to force errors from Maleeva.

"I am happy to be in the semifinals," Likhovtseva said. "I deserved the victory as I made fewer mistakes."

The normally consistent Maleeva said she never found her comfort zone on the court and praised her opponent's play as the key to the match.

"What I can I say? She played a perfect match and was strong on big points," Maleeva said. "I wasn't nervous, but I was made to fight all the time and she never let me come back into the game."

The hard-hitting Krasnoroutskaya toppled top-seeded Monica Seles to start the tournament and held a 7-6, 4-0 lead over Conchita Martinez when the seventh-seeded Spaniard conceded today's quarterfinal, complaining of a strained Achilles' tendon.

"It was the same right Achilles tendon injury that has bothered me for a long time," Martinez said. "It was very painful and I couldn't have continued."

The victory was validation for the 18-year-old Russian, who received a wild card into the event and has made the most of it.

"It is great to be in the last four after gaining a wild-card entry," Krasnoroutskaya said. "I think I've vindicated the organizers' faith in me by making it this far."
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 08:28 PM   #2
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Well, at least SOME Russian players are heading in the right direction.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #3
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Make that, MOST of the Russians are, Spartan.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 10:32 PM   #4
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Many Russians are doing well... so nyah.
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