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Young Players Make Heineken Semis

October 15, 1999

SINGAPORE (AP) _ Surprising Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand is in the semifinals of the $725,000 Heineken Open tennis tournament, joining top-seeded Marcelo Rios, Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Swedish qualifier Mikael Tillstrom.

Srichaphan, who began this week by shocking third-seeded Magnus Norman in the first round, upset sixth-seeded Andrew Ilie of Australia 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) Friday.

``So many net cords helped me to win,″ Srichaphan said. ``I’m so surprised.″

``It was a pretty close match,″ Ilie said. ``The difference in the end was that he was very lucky. He was really lucky on a lot of shots.″

The 20-year-old Thai reached his second career quarterfinal last week in Shanghai, China, and was given a wild card entry into this week’s tournament. This is his first ATP Tour semifinal appearance.

Tillstrom defeated Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3 and will play Srichaphan in the semis.

Rios, the defending champion from Chile, beat American Jan-Michael Gambill 6-4, 6-4 and Hewitt ousted Dutchman John Von Lottum 6-4, 6-2 in the other quarterfinals.

Rios’ effortless groundstrokes won him the match from the baseline, as Gambill struggled to keep up. He will play the 18-year-old Hewitt in Saturday’s semifinals.

``If I can get him behind the ball I will have no trouble,″ Rios said, adding that power shots would be key to beating Hewitt. ``I have a little more power than him. I’m really feeling good, hitting the ball really clean.″

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