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Federer Upsets Kafelnikov in Milan

February 3, 2001

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Seventh-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland upset No. 2 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in a semifinal of the Milan Indoor tournament Saturday.

In Sunday’s final, Federer will face France’s Julien Boutter, a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) winner over Britain’s Greg Rusedski. The unseeded Boutter started the match with a double fault and ended it with an ace in reaching his first ATP career final.

A nervous Kafelnikov repeatedly disputed referee calls. But it was Federer who caused him big problems with a powerful serve, deep shots and quick moves.

Saturday’s win was Federer’s first in four head-to-head meetings with Kafelnikov.

Boutter and Rusedski held serve to 6-6 in both sets, although Rusedski was unable to take advantage of three break points during the first.

``I had been expecting this final for five years,″ Boutter said. ``Now I expect to win a final.″

Boutter had one break point, and wasted it, in the seventh game of the second. Boutter, who made the top 100 for the first time last year, won the first-set tie-breaker after blowing two set points.

He wasted two match points in the second-set tie-breaker, then served an ace for the victory against the player who had stunned top-ranked Gustavo Kuerten at the Australian Open and beaten No. 2 Marat Safin, the top seed in Milan, in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Boutter said that compatriot Arnaud Clement, the losing finalist in Australia, gave him a good-luck call before the semifinal.

``He encouraged me and said, `You can do it,‴ Boutter said.

Boutter’s previous best result had been a semifinal in Tashkent last year. He lost then to Davide Sanguinetti.

Rusedski, ranked 13th in the world with 22 career titles, said he played better than Boutter in the two sets and definitely worse in the tie breaks.

``He served incredibly well in the most difficult moments of the match,″ Rusedski said. ``I knew it was going to be a tough match, but I still hoped to make it to the final.″

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