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  Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 12:56 GMT
Novak too strong for Koubek
Czech Jiri Novak has reached his first-ever grand slam semi-final
Jiri Novak had little trouble with Stefan Koubek
Czech Jiri Novak cruised into his first Grand Slam semi-final, destroying Austria's Stefan Koubek 6-2 6-3 6-2 in their Australian Open quarter-final clash.

The 26th seed made light work of Koubek - ranked 65th in the world - winning in just 85 minutes.

Koubek had come back from two sets down in his first and second round matches but finally ran out of steam on the Rod Laver Arena centre court.

"This is the first time in my life I have gone so far in a Grand Slam and it is an unbelievable feeling," said Novak.

Stefan Koubek is ranked 65 in the world
Koubek never looked like making the last four
"I was playing so well tonight. I was trying to concentrate on my game and I was trying to play a good game.

"I noticed that he played very well. I have not played against him before but it was a very hard match for me.

"When you are playing in a quarter-final for the first time, it is something special."

Novak, the first Czech semi-finalist at a Grand Slam since Petr Korda won in Melbourne in 1998, will face Swedish 16th seed Thomas Johansson for a place in Sunday's final.

He said he would not be overcome by the pressure of the match.

"You just have to go out there and remember you're battling for a place in the final," he said.

Novak's last meeting with Johansson was in the Davis Cup in Sweden, when the Czechs lost the tie 3-1.

"It is a different situation here," he said.

"We are playing in the semi-finals for the first time and it is going to be a tough match.

"But I have nothing to lose. He is the favourite because he beat me the last time we played."

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Jiri Novak
"I was playing much better today"
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