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Hantuchova falls to qualifier

ROMANIAN qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru upset sixth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-1 yesterday to advance to the final of the Warsaw Open.

The 19-year-old Dulgheru, ranked No. 201 in the world, dictated the pace of play from the outset on the red clay, converting eight of 10 break points to reach her first WTA Tour final.

"She has a lot of experience, so I'm amazed that I won today," Dulgheru said. "If you asked me at the beginning of the tournament if I'd be here now, I would have said no."

After winning the second-set tiebreaker, Hantuchova broke Dulgheru to open the third. But the Slovak's serve faltered again, and Dulgheru immediately broke back and then reeled off the next five games to move into the final.

"For sure, she was not playing as number 200 today," the 36th-ranked Hantuchova said.

"In the third set she started to go for winners down the lines which I didn't really expect. ... She was too good, she deserved to win."

In Kitzbuehel, Austria, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain reached his first ATP Tour final yesterday by beating seventh-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals of the Austrian Open.

"I am very, very happy now," Garcia-Lopez said. "My first final, that's incredible. I can't find the right words to describe my feelings."

The 25-year-old Spaniard, ranked 74th, will play either Oscar Hernandez or Julien Benneteau of France in today's final.

Garcia-Lopez used an early break to win the opening set before Youzhny, the only seeded player left in the tournament, dominated the second with a more attacking approach.

The Russian, who reached the final of the BMW Open in Munich this month, saved a match point at 5-4 down in the decider when Garcia-Lopez hit a backhand return long.

In the tiebreaker, Garcia-Lopez converted his fifth match point with a forehand cross winner.


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