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Spanish qualifier beats her Idol to reach semifinals of Rexona Cup

May 2, 1997

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) _ Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo of Spain , a qualifier, beat her idol Friday, upsetting compatriot Conchita Martinez 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Rexona Cup.

Sanchez-Lorenzo, ranked 121st in the world, warded off four set points while down 1-5 in the first set, before defeating the 1994 Wimbledon champion.

Sanchez-Lorenzo’s victory was the biggest of her career, against the second-seeded and world’s No. 6 player.

``Conchita Martinez is my idol _ I admire her,″ Sanchez-Lorenzo, 19, said. ``Still, I knew I could surprise everyone against her.″

She next faces Iva Majoli, the No. 4 seed, who struggled to a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over France’s fifth-seeded Mary Pierce. Saturday’s other semifinal pits Romania’s Ruxandra Dragomir, No. 7, against France’s 17-year-old Anne Gaelle Sidot.

Dragomir beat Austria’s Barbara Schett 6-1, 7-5, and Sidot downed Petra Langrova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

Majoli, the world No. 9, needed almost two hours to beat Pierce, her close friend and a former Australian Open winner. She whipped a forehand into the open court at match point.

``The matches between us are always close,″ said Majoli, whose career record is now 4-5 against Pierce. ``That’s why I’m so happy to reach the semifinals.″

Majoli fell behind 0-30 while serving at 5-4 in the final set, but Pierce lost the chance to even the match with a weak volley, followed by a second serve net ball.

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