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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Federer foils El Aynaoui
Roger Federer
Federer looks to have regained his form

Roger Federer battled into the Halle Open semi-finals with a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 victory over Younes El Aynaoui.

The top-seeded Swiss, chasing his first grasscourt title, let slip a 3-0 lead in both sets.

But he recovered to claim a win which sets up a final four meeting with sixth seed Mikhail Youzhny, who defeated third seed Jiri Novak 6-4 6-4.

World number five Federer, looking on top of his game, broke El Aynaoui on his way to a 3-0 lead in the opening set.

But the Moroccan, who admitted he had been 'killed' by Federer in their last match, held serve and broke back for 3-2.

The pair then stayed on serve until the 12th game, when the Swiss broke again to take the set.

The pattern was repeated in the second as Federer broke on his way to a 3-0 lead, only to be broken back - thanks partly to a superb shot from between his legs by El Aynaoui.

This time the Moroccan held serve right through to force a tiebreak, but Federer upped his game to take it 7-3.

French eighth seed Arnaud Clement had to battle his way past Karol Kucera, with the Slovak winning a second-set tiebreak.

But Clement eventually prevailed, taking another tiebreak in the third to triumph 7-5, 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (8/6).

He will now play home favourite Nicolas Kiefer, who beat Radek Stepanek from the Czech Republic, 7-5 6-3.




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Roger Federer
"My game is ok right now, I hope it continues"


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