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El Aynaoui moves into Casablanca final

April 12, 2003 at 2:39 PM   |   Comments

CASABLANCA, Morocco, April 12 (UPI) -- Defending champion and top seed Younes El Aynaoui prevailed in an all-Moroccan semifinal Saturday against Hicham Arazi at the Grand Prix Hassan II.

El Aynaoui will defend his title here after a fourth consecutive three-set triumph, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, to improve to 3-0 against his countryman. He beat Arazi at the U.S. Open last year and at Doha, Qatar in January.

Arazi was contemplating retirement after a difficult 2002 but El Aynaoui, a friend and mentor, convinced him to continue his ATP career. The two teammed up last weekend to lead Morocco to victory in the Davis Cup over Italy.

Unseeded Frenchman Julien Boutter reached his second career ATP final with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over No. 4 Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.

Boutter lost his first final to Roger Federer at the Milano Indoors in February 2001. He is 7-2 all-time at this event.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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