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Unseeded Razzano storms into final

UNSEEDED Virginie Razzano swept past Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 6-2 yesterday to reach the Dubai Championships' final.

The Frenchwoman next faces Serena or Venus Williams, who were to play their semifinal later.

The 25-year-old Razzano continued a remarkable run this week that has included upset victories over second seed Dinara Safina and No. 5 Vera Zvonareva.

Sixteenth seed Kanepi, who beat world No. 3 Jelena Jankovic on her way to the semis, broke serve in the opening game but looked weary for most of the match.

Razzano struck the ball more positively and was also more mobile than her opponent. After breaking back for 1-1 she reeled off the next seven games to take the first set and lead 2-0 in the second.

The Frenchwoman had a break point to lead 3-0 in the second but netted her return and Kanepi went on to hold with an ace. Kanepi then broke for 2-2 when her opponent double-faulted before netting a weak forehand. Razzano, however, quickly regained control and claimed the final four games for the loss of three points to wrap up the match in 63 minutes.

"It was me who was the boss today," Razzano said. "I wanted to do my best to reach the final."

Kanepi said she felt more tired in her quarterfinal but was simply out of form.

"Almost nothing went right. The serve didn't work that well and the baseline game wasn't that good either," she said. "She also played very well and played some great shots. It's very disappointing but I just have to learn from my mistakes and move forward."

On Thursday, Venus handed defending champion Elena Dementieva her third defeat of the year, winning 6-3, 6-3, and top seed Serena withstood a strong challenge from Serbian Ana Ivanovic to advance 6-4, 6-4.

Meanwhile, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week's men's event to continue his recovery from a knee complaint. World No. 2 Roger Federer has also skipped the tournament due to injury.

In Memphis, Tennessee, top-seeded Andy Roddick breezed past Robby Ginepri 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Thursday.

Roddick, seeking his first tournament victory in 2009, needed just 61 minutes to polish off American compatriot Ginepri, drilling 11 aces and hitting 79 percent of his first serves. Roddick will face another American opponent in the quarterfinals after No. 8-seeded Sam Querrey crushed former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-1, 6-2.

Second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina also advanced to the last eight with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis, setting up a clash with fifth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who comfortably defeated Austrian veteran Stefan Koubek 6-2, 6-4.

The other two men's quarterfinals will be all-unseeded affairs: former world's No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt against Belgium's Christophe Rochus and Israel's Dudi Sela versus Russian Igor Kunitsyn. Hewitt beat his Australian Davis Cup teammate Chris Guccione 6-2, 7-6 (4) while Rochus was too strong for American No. 7-seed Mardy Fish, winning 6-2, 6-4.

In France, Novak Djokovic overcame tenacious Czech Jan Hernych 7-5, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Marseille Open on Thursday.

Four Frenchmen, led by second seed Gilles Simon, also qualified for the last eight of the tournament.

Djokovic next meets German Mischa Zverev, who beat France's Arnaud Clement 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Simon found the going even harder in his 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over German Rainer Schuettler. French fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overpowered Italy's Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-2.


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