Rusedski earns final berth

Aug. 17, 2002 at 7:48 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Britain's Greg Rusedski completed his hat trick Saturday at the RCA Championships.

The hard-serving Rusedski battled back and upset No. 3 Tommy Haas of Germany, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, to advance to the final of the hardcourt tournament.

In Sunday's title match, Rusedski will meet either No. 9 Rainer Schuettler of Germany or unseeded Felix Mantilla of Spain. They clashed in Saturday night's semifinal.

Rusedski has defeated the top three players in the ATP rankings in a span of 13 days. Before beating world No. 3 Haas, Rusedski knocked off world No. 2 Marat Safin of Russia in the opening round of last week's Tennis Masters Series event at Cincinnati and stunned world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia in the third round here.

"I felt like I've really started to put it together this week," Rusedski said. "There's not that many players who have beaten the top three players in the world over a two-week span."

Rusedski improved his lifetime record to 4-1 against the 24-year-old German. All four victories have come on hard courts, which favor Rusedski's power game.

Though the 28-year-old Brit's rocket serve can be dominating, his inconsistency has thwarted his progress at many tournaments. But in Indianapolis, Rusedski has maintained a high level of play.

"I think I served so well at Wimbledon and the past three weeks, but I've had one game that I didn't play well each week," Rusedski said. "This week, I've tightened that up and I'm not really making many mistakes. I've won five matches in a row, hoping for six and that is a boost to my confidence."

Rusedski aims for his second title of the year, having won at Auckland.

Haas made the final four for the second time in his last three tournaments, including at the TMS - Toronto. His previous top effort here was the quarterfinals in his 1996 debut.

"Definitely it's disappointing. I thought I played very well for the first set and a half. It was very good tennis," Haas said. "His serve is tough. The ball bounces high and he puts a lot of slice, which makes it tough to break him."

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