Coria to meet Schuettler

MONTE CARLO, APRIL 24. Guillermo Coria reached his second straight final at the $2.91 million Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday, beating Marat Safin 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Coria will take on Rainer Schuettler in the final on Sunday. The fourth-seeded German beat the fifth-seeded Spaniard, Carlos Moya 7-6 (5), 6-4.

The speedy Argentine is still unbeaten on clay since last June and won the last 25 matches on his favourite surface. But Safin made him sweat for his latest win.

The big Russian, a U.S. Open winner in 2000, hit form brilliantly in the second set and maintained his clean hitting until — serving at 3-4 down — he was broken to love and his confidence swiftly disappeared.

In its place, the moody outbursts and trademark grunts, and Safin was warned by the umpire in the eighth game of the final set.

Wasting a chance to pressure Coria's serve at 15-30, Safin smashed the ball high into the air and it sailed over a nearby clubhouse.

The ball was accompanied by a wild scream which pierced the tranquil surroundings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Safin blamed the ``bad bounce'' on centre court for a string of sloppy shots late in the match.

Coria set up his win with a delightful drop shot and broke Safin to serve out the match at 5-3.

In the opening two sets, Safin often came to the net — winning 22 points there — and overall hit far more winners: 31 compared to 12 for Coria.

The results (semifinals): Guillermo Coria bt Marat Safin 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; Rainer Schuettler bt Carlos Moya 7-6 (5), 6-4.

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