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Calleri, Coria to Meet in Hamburg Final

May 17, 2003

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) _ Countrymen Agustin Calleri and Guillermo Coria will meet in the final of the Hamburg Masters.

On a historic tennis day for Argentina, Calleri beat David Nalbandian 6-4, 6-1 and the 12th-seeded Coria defeated Gaston Gaudio 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-0 Saturday in this important tuneup for the French Open.

Never before had four players from Argentina reached the semifinals at one ATP tournament. It also was the first time four players from the same country played in the semifinals of a Tennis Masters Series tournament, the nine events that rank just below the Grand Slams.

The last Argentine to win in Hamburg was Guillermo Vilas in 1978.

``It’s something very big for our country,″ Calleri said.

Nalbandian, who was a finalist at Wimbledon last year, was the highest-seeded player remaining at No. 8. But clay is not his best surface. Calleri meanwhile, is 24-7 on clay this season and will play in his third final on the surface this year.

Nalbandian had won four of five previous matches against Calleri, but he was frustrated throughout the semifinal match.

``You never know what he’s going to do,″ Nalbandian said.

Calleri ran down many shots, while Nalbandian squandered eight break points.

``I played very high-level tennis,″ Calleri said. ``I tried to be aggressive and to hit hard, he doesn’t like coming under pressure.″

Against Gaudio, Coria used a backhand volley to win the first set and saved a set point while trailing 5-4 in the second stanza.

At 40-15 on his serve in the 12th game, he called the trainer for treatment on his left leg. Coria returned, won the game and forced the set into a tiebreaker. He committed a double-fault, giving the set to Gaudio.

Coria, who is 17-4 on clay, rallied and rolled through the final set.

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