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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 September 2006, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Blake beats Safin to reach final
Marat Safin and James Blake
Blake (right) beat Safin for the second time in four meetings

Third seed James Blake beat Marat Safin 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.

He had to dig deep to outlast Russian Safin, who has improved since slipping out of the top 100 earlier this year.

Blake will next face top seed Ivan Ljubicic, who brushed aside local favourite Paradorn Srichaphan 6-3 6-2.

In doubles, Andy Murray teamed up with brother Jamie to coast into the final after a 6-4 6-2 win over third seeds Chris Haggard and Jordan Kerr.

They will face either top-seeded Israel pair Andy Ram and Jonathan Ehrlich or US Open semi-finalists Tripp Phillips of the United States and Australian Ashley Fisher.

Andy Murray said: "I don't play much doubles but this was a great opportunity to team up with my brother.

I was so close to being in the final - I wish I could break through that barrier

Marat Safin

"He specialises in doubles so he is showing me the ropes and, so far, he has done a pretty good job.

"He is a great volleyer and I have pretty solid returns so we have managed to get some good wins and Jamie has broken into the top 100 doubles rankings for the first time."

Blake paid tribute to Safin after his hard-fought victory.

"When he's on his best he can give everyone fits. I had to weather the storm," Blake said.

Safin was frustrated at losing his match lead and falling short of the final, smashing a racket after he was broken for the first time at 2-2 in the second set.

"It slipped away," said the 26-year-old.

"I was up a break in the third and it slipped away, he broke back and then the tiebreak was a disaster.

"I was so close to being in the final. This is the third time this year it's happened like this for me. I wish I could break through that barrier."



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