Sugiyama to meet Daniilidou in final

Seoul, September 30 :

Eleni Daniilidou of Greece cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 upset win over third-seeded Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli on Saturday to advance to the Korea Open final.

Japanese No 4 Ai Sugiyama joined Bartoli in the final after making short work of Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 6-0, 6-3.

Daniilidou, approaching her first final since winning the 2004 ASB Classic, overcame long and hard-fought starts to each set before closing out the win in just 75 minutes.

After breaking Bartoli in the second game of the last set, she clapped her racket and blew a kiss to the crowd at the stadium.

Daniilidou dictated play, firing lightning backhands and forcing Bartoli into difficult returns then easily finishing her off. On match-point, Bartoli stood and watched as the ball sailed down the line.

Sugiyama, a quarter-finalist here last year, leads Daniilidou 4-2 in head-to-heads. Sugiyama has won all three hard-court encounters, as well as this year’s three-setter at the French Open.

Thailand Open :

BANGKOK: James Blake denied Marat Safin a place in his first final in more than a year as he staged a comeback to eliminate the Russian 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) at the Thailand Open on Saturday.

Blake, the third seed with titles this season in Adelaide, Las Vegas and Indianapolis, rallied to set up a Sunday showdown with Croatian top seed Ivan Ljubicic who outplayed Thai sensation Paradorn Srichaphan 6-3, 6-2.

The mercurial Safin smashed a racket at a heated moment in the second set as he was broken for the first time to drop to 2-3.

Safin, competing in his third semi-final of this comeback season, drew level at two-all with Blake, who also beat him last Sunday in a dead rubber at the Davis Cup semi-final tie in Moscow won by Russia.

Safin against lost a break in the third set then turned in a forgettable tiebreaker to lose after saving a pair of match points before Blake put away the win.

Mumbai Open :

MUMBAI: Top-seeded Tommy Robredo defeated Ramon Delgado 6-2, 7-6 (1) to reach the semi-finals of the Mumbai Open. Robredo will face fourth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov, who rallied to overcome qualifier James Auckland 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Stefan Koubek, ranked No 118, upset second-seeded Mario Ancic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The left-handed Koubek rallied past the 11th-ranked Ancic, who reached the final of the China Open two weeks ago after a two-month injury layoff.

Koubek will meet third-seeded Tomas Berdych, who defeated Bjorn Phau 6-3, 7-5. Koubek drew even by breaking serve in the sixth and 10th games of the second set.

In the deciding third set, Ancic trailed 2-5 when he saved two match points to hold serve before Koubek served out the set.