Yevgeny, Magnus thru'
MELBOURNE, Jan 26: Yevgeny Kafelnikov rolled into the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday, but is less confident about defending his men's title. It is certain that one finalist will be either No. 1 Andre Agassi or No. 3 Pete Sampras, reports AP.
Kafelnikov never faced a break point as he won his first set in 19 minutes in beating Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui 6-0, 6-3, 7-6.
He next plays No. 12 Magnus Norman, who beat No. 4 Nicolas Kiefer 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 with help from double-faults by Kiefer on a second-set break point, the third set's set point and match point - Kiefer's seventh of the match.
On his way to his first Grand Slam semifinal, Norman saved five break points in the second set's first game and held serve the rest of the way. The 23-year-old Swede reached match point with a low backhand serve return that Kiefer half-volleyed into the net.
"That was a huge part of the game," Norman said of the saved points. "He had been controlling the points. From then on I played a great match."
Kafelnikov said, "I'm already overjoyed that I'm in the semifinal," adding that he hoped he was wrong in earlier predicting that he would not keep his title.
Kafelnikov said that for the first time in the tournament "I felt like I was enjoying myself on the court."
"I never expected I would get this far in the tournament," he said. Once I got through the first two matches, I started to believe in myself a lot more."
But he rated the semifinalists from the other half of the draw - Sampras and Agassi - as the world's two best players.
"Pete is a legend," he said.
Still, he added, they might have a bad day.
Commenting on his own No. 2 ranking, Kafelnikov said, "I'm sure they also appreciate that I won two Grand Slams, which is obviously separating me also from the other guys.
They know how hard it is to win a Grand Slam, so I think I'm welcome in their club."
This was the first time two Moroccans reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
Hicham Arazi, in his third try to reach a major semifinal, ran into Agassi.
El Aynaoui said he was happy to pick up his game and make Kafelnikov work hard at the end.
"In the beginning it was a bit of everything - playing the quarterfinal on the Centre Court, and my legs were feeling pretty heavy..... Against this type of player you really have to be fit and be 100 per cent, and that was not the case today," he said. "I had problems with my serve, with my left leg."
Navratilova in Hall of Fame
WASHINGTON, Jan 26: Women's tennis great Martina Navratilova entered the International Tennis Hall of Fame in New York on Tuesday, reports Xinhua.
Joining her were Australian Davis Cup star Malcolm Anderson and Robert Kelleher, who led the US Lawn Tennis Association into the Open era. The three will be inducted July 15 in Newport, Rhode Island.
"Martina was the greatest all-around player to ever play our game," fellow Hall of Famer Billie Jean King said at a luncheon where the newest members of the hall were announced. "She just did it all."
In a career that stretched from 1973-94, Navratilova won 167 singles titles and 165 doubles crowns, both records.
Her singles titles include a record nine Wimbledons, four US Opens, three Australian Opens and two French Opens.