French affair for Forget and Pioline

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The Independent Online
GUY FORGET and Cedric Pioline will meet today in an all-French final of the Marseille Open. Pioline beat the German Hendrik Dreekmann 6-3 3-6 6-2 while his Davis Cup team-mate Forget defeated Spain's Tomas Carbonell 6-3 7-6.

Pioline, who has reached eight ATP Tour finals without winning and was also runner-up in the US Open in 1993, will find most of the crowd against him in his attempt to win a first title, as Forget spent much of his childhood in Marseille.

Now 44th in the world after two injury-plagued seasons, Forget won easily, even though he needed a tie-break in the second set. Pioline had some problems against Dreekmann, who had not dropped a set in reaching the semi-finals.

He lost concentration in the second set but broke the German at the start of the third to reach his second final of the year. "I'm not obsessed by winning a title. I'd rather make it back into the top 10. But one could help the other," Pioline said.

Iva Majoli, the top seed, progressed into the final of her second consecutive tournament yesterday, with a three-set victory over the third-seeded Magdalena Maleeva at the women's Open Gaz de France in Paris. The Croat rallied after dropping the first set to beat the Bulgarian 1-6 7-5 6-3.

In the other semi-final, Julie Halard, of France, reached the final for the second time in three years as she beat the Italian Silvia Farina 6- 4 6-4. Halard lost in the 1994 final to Martina Navratilova, which was the veteran's last tournament win.

Majoli won the Pan Pacific tournament in Japan earlier this month and only lost in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to the resurgent Monica Seles, the eventual champion and joint world No 1.

In Essex, Andrew Richardson convincingly reached the final of the LTA men's indoor satellite tournament at Chigwell after beating Ofer Sela, of Israel, 6-4 6-2. The Lincolnshire player looked confident throughout as he set up a meeting with Giorgio Galimberti of Italy in today's final. Galimberti beat Aleksander Kitinov of Macedonia 6-1 7-5 in the other semi-final.