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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 20:13 GMT 21:13 UK
Ferrero sets up Agassi test
Men's quarter-finals - day 12

Juan Carlos Ferrero
Juan Carlos Ferrero reached the US Open semi-finals for the first time with a 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-1 win over former champion Lleyton Hewitt.

The third seed from Spain will now face world number one Andre Agassi in a tantalising semi-final on Saturday, after the American saw off Guillermo Coria in straight sets.

"It's exciting, I am playing good tennis here in New York," said Ferrero, who will take over the world number one spot if he defeats Agassi.

"It's going to be a tough match because Andre is playing great. It will be very tough for me playing Andre here with all the crowd supporting him."

In the other semi-final, Andy Roddick, who overwhelmed Sjeng Schalken in under an hour and a half, faces David Nalbandian, who battled past Younes El Aynaoui.

Hewitt, the former world number one, was looking to make up for a disappointing year but he could not contend with the pace and power of the Spaniard dubbed 'Mosquito'.

Having split the first two sets, the match began to slip away from Hewitt in the third after the 22-year-old Australian received treatment on his left hip.

Men's semi-finals
Agassi v Ferrero
Roddick v Nalbandian
Leading 5-4, Hewitt called for the trainer and was stretched out on the Louis Armstrong court for several minutes while he was treated on his strained hip.

Hewitt returned to the court and showed no signs of his injury, immediately earning two set points.

But the 23-year-old Spaniard erased both with back-to-back aces, forcing the set into a tiebreak, which he took 7-5.

Ferrero stepped up the pressure in the fourth, breaking Hewitt at the first opportunity for a commanding 3-0 lead, which the Australian failed to recover from.

But Hewitt refused to blame the injury for his defeat, which means he has failed to make a Grand Slam semi-final this year.

"I just couldn't serve, it was hurting every time I went up to push off serving," he said.

"It was very tough to hold serve from then on, especially against a guy who's working the ball so well from the baseline. I take nothing away from him though. He was too good."

Agassi remained on course for a sixth US Open final with a 6-4 6-3 7-5 demolition of Coria.

Coria, the fifth seed, defeated Agassi at the French Open earlier this year but his movement was hampered by a thigh injury on Friday.

Agassi reserved his best tennis for the crucial moments, breaking at 5-4 in the first set and 4-3 in the second.

Coria put up a surprisingly dogged fight in the third set and tested Agassi to the last, but the American fans' favourite booked his semi-final place with a 6-4 6-3 7-5 win.

Agassi, at 33 the oldest man in the field, could become the oldest US Open champion since 1970 when Australian Ken Rosewall won at age 35.

Because rain wiped out matches for over three days, Sunday's finalists could end up playing best-of-five matches four days in a row.

"The easier you can make it on yourself, the better off you are," Agassi said. "Playing three days in a row, a three-setter comes in really handy."

Links to more US Open 2003 stories



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