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City news, 02.11.2005 15:51

Kiefer advances to St. Petersburg final

kiefer_st_petersburg_open Also reaching the championship match of the $1 million indoor hardcourt tournament was No. 2 Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who overcame a lull in the second set for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over No. 8 Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

The fifth seed, Kiefer has come up short in his last eight appearances in a final since claiming his sixth career title at Hong Kong in 2000.

Advancing past the quarterfinals for first time this year in Moscow two weeks ago, Kiefer fell in three sets in the final of the Kremlin Cup against Russian Igor Andreev.

On Friday, the 28-year-old improved to 33-21 in 2005 by routing another Russian, top seed Nikolay Davydenko, 6-1, 6-1.

A champion here in 1997, Johansson reached his first final of the year after losing in the semifinals four times.

The two players have split the first six career meetings, with Johansson beating Kiefer, 6-4, 6-2, in a World Team Championship match back in May.

First prize is $142,000.

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(c) 2000