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Becker Topples Rios To Reach Final

July 11, 1998

GSTAAD, Switzerland (AP) _ Semi-retired Boris Becker defeated top-seeded Marcelo Rios in straight sets today in the semifinals of the Swiss Open, moving a step closer to his first clay-court championship and 50th career singles title.

Becker’s victory over the world’s No. 2 ranked player 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) left Becker with only one match between him and those goals.

His opponent in Sunday’s final will be French Open finalist Alex Corretja. The Spaniard beat Belgian Filip Dewulf 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 in the other semifinal.

``Clay compared to the other surfaces is not my best,″ said Becker, the winner of six Grand Slams. ``But that doesn’t mean I can’t play on it.

Though ranked just 119 in the world, falling out of the top 100 this week for the first time in 13 years, the 30-year-old Becker has defeated France’s Cedric Pioline and the 1997 champion Felix Mantilla of Spain before ousting Rios.

``I’m very content and surprised,″ said Becker, whose last title dates back to the 1996 Grand Slam Cup. ``I played a very good match against a very good player.″

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