Robert Kendrick continues surprising run

March 7, 2003 at 11:08 PM
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DELRAY BEACH, Fla., March 7 (UPI) -- American qualifier Robert Kendrick continued his remarkable run at the International Tennis Championship Friday with another straight-sets victory.

Just three days after claiming his first ATP Tour match victory at the hardcourt event, Kendrick posted 6-0, 6-4 victory over Vladimir Voltchkov of Belarus to reach his first semifinal.

"It's a great win and I wasn't too nervous out there," Kendrick said. "I had a few opportunities at the beginning of the second set where I had the chance to go up 2-0 and blew it. That was a little disappointing, but I'm happy to get the win."

The 23-year-old Floridian got through qualifying and will play in the doubles semifinals, yet does not feel fatigued.

"Physically, I feel good," Kendrick said. "Doubles has helped loosen me up during the week. Paul (Goldstein) and I talk a lot out there and just have fun. My body is holding up pretty well. (ATP trainer) Bill Norris has been a big help in stretching my legs out."

Kendrick lost his first ATP match of the season at Auckland but reached the semifinals at a Challenger event in Dallas last month. Last year, he won a Futures tournament in Tampa Bay and a Challenger event in Tulsa.

On Saturday, Kendrick will face countryman Jan-Michael Gambill. The fourth seed advanced to the semifinals for the third straight year with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 triumph over Brazil's Flavio Saretta.

Gambill, the 2001 champion, rallied from a set down and Saretta serving for the match to push the second set to a tiebreaker. After winning the second set, he rolled through the third to improve to 11-2 lifetime at Delray Beach.

"I started dictating points better and starting making less errors," Gambill said. "When you're down 5-4 and the guy's serving for the match, you got to do things better."

After losing in the second round at his prevous four tournaments, Gambill reached his first semifinal since a runner-up finish at the Qatar Open to start the season.

Saturday's other semifinal pits third seed Marcelo Rios of Chile and Mardy Fish of the United States.

Rios, who accepted a wild card to play here, posted a 6-3, 6-4 win against Hyung-Taik Lee of Korea. He won the final three games of the second set to move into his second semifinal of the season.

Fish beat Spain's Alberto Martin, 6-3, 6-3, in 77 minutes to advance to his first career ATP semifinal. The 21-year-old American reached the quarterfianls in Sydney in January and Memphis last month.

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