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Japanese fright for Hingis

Martina Hingis survived a scare from Ai Sugiyama to earn a semi-finals berth


Switzerland's Martina Hingis had to fight to earn a place in the semi-finals of the Pan Pacific tennis tournament in Tokyo. Facing off against local, Ai Sugiyama, on Friday, the world number one needed three sets to book her place among the final four.

Hingis looked set to win the match easily early on, taking the first set 6-0. But in the second, her timing and placement of her first serves went haywire.

Sugiyama made the most of the opportunity, pouncing on Hingis' weak second serves and waiting for the right moment to score points from the baseline. The Japanese player broke her opponent's serve three times to win the second set 7-5.

Both players opened the third set with breaks before Hingis regained her form, and broke Sugiyama's serve to lead 2-1. After that, she never looked back, winning the set 6-2.

At the Milan Indoors tournament, Geneva's Marc Rosset pulled out of his match against Britain's Greg Rusedski on Thursday, suffering from back pain. The defending champion retired after losing the first set 6-3, and the first game of the second set.

During the first set, Rosset received attention from his trainer for back trouble. But the eighth seed had difficulty serving and his movement was restricted.

In other matches, Switzerland's Ivo Heuberger was soundly defeated by Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov. But there was some good news on Thursday for Swiss tennis players, when Roger Federer proceeded to the quarter-finals after beating France's Cyril Saulnier.

Federer will now face the Croatian, Goran Ivanisevic.

swissinfo with agencies


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