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Last Updated: Monday, 31 May, 2004, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Kuerten brushes aside Lopez
Gustavo Kuerten
Gustavo Kuerten remained on course for an unlikely fourth French Open title with a 6-3 7-5 6-4 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round.

Kuerten, who shocked Roger Federer in the previous round, was always in control against his younger opponent.

Lopez began far too tentatively and was duly punished by a rampant Kuerten.

The Spaniard had a glimmer of hope when he broke back at 4-5 in the second set, but Kuerten merely broke again before closing out a comfortable win.

Kuerten will face David Nalbandian for a place in the semi-finals after the Argentine beat Marat Safin in four sets.

"I never expected this to happen," said Kuerten. "I'm very emotional right now."

His only concern will be the hip injury which has blighted his career since he collected his third French Open title in 2001.

The 27-year-old twice received treatment for the problem against Lopez, and has already admitted that he may struggle if he does not win his matches in straight sets.

"After my surgery (in 2002) my hip is not able to work as before," said Kuerten.

"It's sometimes very painful and frustrating on court. If I am out there trying hard for one hour I start to get some pain in my leg.

"But when you are playing tournaments like this, in the quarter-finals, with your adrenalin high, you can bear a lot more than in practice or in the early rounds.

"The reality of being in the quarter-finals again is special for me, maybe more special than when I beat Roger Federer."



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