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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 05:17 GMT
Kiefer beats Grosjean in epic tie
Nicolas Kiefer celebrates his win
Kiefer will face world number one Roger Federer in the semis
Nicolas Kiefer reached his first major semi-final at the Australian Open by defeating Sebastien Grosjean 6-3 0-6 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 8-6 in an epic match.

Kiefer took the opener from the languid Grosjean but lost his focus and the Frenchman levelled - a pattern the match followed in the next two sets.

Frayed tempers and spectacular shots filled the decider but Kiefer prevailed after four hours and 48 minutes.

The German will now meet Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Friday.

"There was so much pressure because I have made the quarters so many times but I never made the semis," said Kiefer.

"Some points were not so easy, there was so much tension on the court, but it was a great match, thanks to Seb."

The final set was filled with drama and, after two early breaks cancelled each other out, Kiefer provided the first flashpoint.

The 21st seed argued with the umpire, accusing him of making a "stupid" linecall, and received a third code violation while Grosjean broke for a 4-3 lead.

The German immediately broke back and it was soon time for the Frenchman to argue with the chair.

Sebastien Grosjean and tournament referee Mike Morrissey
Grosjean makes his point to tournament referee Mike Morrissey

Kiefer, thinking he had lost a point, threw away his racquet as Grosjean was still playing.

However, the Frenchman dumped his volley into the net and Kiefer was awarded the point, taking him to deuce at 6-5 up.

Grosjean called for the referee and, after a lengthy protest, showed his resolve by going on to hold.

But he was bettered in his next service game as Kiefer carved out a second match point with a delicate lob and wrapped up the match as the 25th seed netted the ball.

"He's good returner," said Grosjean, "so it's tough to hold, especially when you break early in the set. But after he was a bit better at the end.

"After almost five hours and many rallies it was tough physically. I just felt a little bit tired in last two or three games."

The match was the longest at the tournament since Boris Becker and Omar Camporese played for five hours 11 minutes in 1991.


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