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Federer Advances in Weber Tennis

June 14, 2002

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HALLE, Germany (AP) _ Second-seeded Roger Federer beat Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 in 52 minutes Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open.

The 20-year-old Federer solidified his position as a favorite for Wimbledon, punctuating his quarterfinal round victory in the Grand Slam warmup with an ace.

``The idea of being a favorite this year doesn’t add any pressure. I know what I can do,″ Federer said. ``I’m far ahead this year in terms of experience, things like that.″

Top-seeded Yevgney Kafelnikov rallied from a loss in the first set to beat Boddan Ulihrach 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 and advance to the semifinals.

Denmark’s Kenneth Carlsen beat third-seeded and defending champion Thomas Johansson 7-6 (3), 6-3. Johansson, fighting hip and back injuries, wasted a 3-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker.

Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer advanced with a 7-5, 6-4 win over wild card Alexander Popp.

Federer overcame a slow start and broke Youzhny’s serve to take a 5-3 lead in the first set. He broke the Russian’s serve in the opening game of the next set to take control of the match.

Kafelnikov, a two-time grand slam winner, reached the semifinals of a tournament for the first time since April.

Kavelnikov had nine double faults and wasted a 5-3 lead in the first set. He took control with a break to take a 5-3 lead in the second set, then broke Ulihrach’s serve twice to start the final set and won in 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Kafelnikov, a past Australian and French Open winner, won the Gerry Weber in 1997 and 1998. He last reached a semifinal at Marseille.

``The double faults don’t concern me _ the circumstances were forcing me to go for a lot on my serves because Bohdan returns well,″ said Kafelnikov.

Kafelnikov will face Carlsen in one semifinal, and Federer will play Kiefer in the other.

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