Schett to meet Tauziat in the final

Fourth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France fired nine aces to beat Lisa Raymond of the United States 6-4, 6-2 Saturday and reach the finals of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Fourth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France fired nine aces to beat Lisa Raymond of the United States 6-4, 6-2 Saturday and reach the finals of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Tauziat, ranked No 10 in the world, played a serve-and-volley game and never gave the American a chance to break. "My game is inconvenient for her. I was serving better, I was returning better, I read her game better," Tauziat told reporters after the match.

Raymond, a doubles-specialist, came back from love-30 and fired an ace on a deuce at her first service game. Playing net-and-volley, both held until the tenth game in the first set, when Raymond, made two crucial mistakes on her serve, sending backhand volleys into the net when it came to deuce.

"I really can't explain why. In the past three matches I was volleying very well, and today... It's difficult to go into the semifinal against someone you've never beaten before. And it's especially difficult for me to play her, because she doesn't give you the rhythm," the 26-year-old American told reporters.

Tauziat broke Raymond early in the second set and sent a forehand down the line on a deuce in the eighth game to reach her second final this year. She lost to Natasha Zvereva of Belarus in three sets in Eastbourne.

In the second semi-final on Saturday, Barbara Schett of Austria, seeded second, outplayed fifth-seeded Dominique Van-Roost of Belgium, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6). Van-Roost, ranked 12th on the WTA Tour rankings, double-faulted in the twelfth game to lose the first set. She then jumped to a 4-1 lead in the second but lost four games in a row to be back 4-5.

"I was tired today and lacked fitness. I might have won the match if my physical condition were adequate. And my opponent played well today. She pressed me all the time and remained calm in the key moments of the match," Van-Roost told reporters. She saved two match balls on a deuce in the ninth game and one more on a tie breaker to level 5-6.

But Schett, No 8 in the world, who had never won a match against the Belgian before, finally won 8-6. "I was mentally very good today, I stayed very calm throughout the whole game. Maybe she was a little bit tired today, but it doesn't matter to me. I won, and that's the most important thing," Schett told reporters.

Schett beat Tauziat three times this year, but Sunday's final will be their first game on a carpet surface. "I think Nathalie is playing very well on this surface and she's serving very well. I'll try to play good returns and stay focused on my serve, I think," she said of the final.

The winner of the Kremlin Cup tournament, in its 10th year, gets 260 points in the WTA Tour rankings and $150,000.

In the doubles semifinals, third-seeded Lisa Raymond of the United States and Rennae Stubbs of Austria upset top-seeded Elena Tatarkova of Ukraine and Natasha Zvereva of Belarus 7-6 (9-7), 6-4. In the finals they will meet Anke Huber of Germany and Julie Halard-Decugis of France who upset second-seeded Elena Likhovtseva of Russia and Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-2, 5-7, 6-0.

Singles Semi-finalsNathalie Tauziat (4), France, def. Lisa Raymond, United States, 6-4, 6-2.Barbara Schett (2), Austria, def. Dominique Van-Roost (5), Belgium, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).

Doubles Sem-finalsLisa Raymond (3), United States, and Rennae Stubbs, Austria, def. Elena Tatarkova (1), Ukraine, and Natasha Zvereva, Belarus, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4.Anke Huber, Germany, and Julie Halard-Decugis, France, def. Elena Likhovtseva (2), Russia, and Ai Sugiyama, Japan, 6-2, 5-7, 6-0.

 

At the Eurotel Slovak Indoor tournament in Bratislava, Amelie Mauresmo of France slipped into the final without even hitting a ball on Saturday, after a wasp sting forced Kveta Hrdlickova of the Czech Republic to withdraw.

Hrdlickova was stung on her right hand on Friday as she was signing an autograph. By Saturday, she was unable to hold a racket.

Top-seeded Mauresmo, who was the runner-up at the Australian Open but has struggled ever since with injuries, will play the eighth-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium in the finals Sunday.

Clijsters defeated Nathalie Dechy of France after losing the first set in a tie-break, 6-7 (3-7), but then came back with two easy sets, 6-4, 6-2.The tournament is the first WTA event ever to be staged in Slovakia.

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