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Kratochvil through to semifinals in Barcelona

Kratochvil on his way to victory against Portas Keystone

Switzerland's Michel Kratochvil excellent run at the $900,000 Barcelona Open continued Friday after he defeated Spain's Alberto Portas to reach the last four.

This content was published on April 27, 2001 - 15:48

Playing in his second ATP quarterfinal of the year, Kratochvil won 6-3 2-6 6-1 against a player ranked 33 places above him.

The 22-year-old Swiss will now take on the number three seed, Juan Carlos Ferrero, who came from behind to defeat his compatriot, Felix Mantilla, 1-6 6-4 6-1.

Kratochvil was particularly impressive in the third set of his match against Portas, moving quickly and controlling play.

In the sixth game, at 4-1, when Portas twice held breaks of serve, the Swiss was able to dominate and ultimately close the match.

"I generally like to take the ball early, so I prefer a hard court, but in the third set I was really able to stay focused," said Kratochvil. "I am very happy to make it through to the semifinal. I proved today I'm strong enough for big tournaments like this."

Asked if he was surprised by his excellent run, he admitted: "Of course, if you'd told me I'd be in the semifinals this week I'd have settled for that.

"It's possible that this has come a little quick for me but my goal is to keep on improving and I believe in the future I can go further in these tournaments. I think I've proved I'm mentally tough enough for this kind of match, although I still have a lot to improve on."

His performances have certainly been noted by his semifinal opponent. "I think he's surprised everyone," said Ferrero. "It was a great result against Robredo, who was in excellent form this week."

"I also expected Portas to beat him in the quarters but by all accounts he's played very well," continued Ferrero. "Saturday will be the first time we've played each other. He's in good form, but so am I so it should be a good game."

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