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Friday, June 22, 2007
Gasquet, Tursonov lose as Nottingham moves indoors


NOTTINGHAM, England -- Ivo Karlovic beat Russia's Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-4 indoors in the Nottingham Open semifinal as the second seed followed champion Richard Gasquet out of the tournament on Friday.

Organizers of the grass-court event moved the day's matches inside because of the bad weather, which prevented all but one of Thursday's quarterfinals from being completed.

It was Tursunov's second appearance of the day after finishing the final set of his quarterfinal win over Spain's Guillermo Garcia Lopez and the Russian was on the back foot from the start against the Croat's huge serve.

"I might have had a better chance in rallies but then there are not too many rallies on his serve," Tursunov said.

"Had I put more first serves in I think I probably would have done a lot better. At least I would have got to the tiebreak. ...

"You only have to get one of his serves back in a tiebreak as opposed to getting four in an actual game," the Russian said, adding he did not think already playing a match put him at a disadvantage.

"He's been improving everything other than his serve and now you can't expect him to miss a ball just because you got it back which was the case a couple of years ago."

Playing in a hall with no spectators, aside from a few hardy souls peering through the windows, Tursunov saved six break points in the first set before Karlovic wore him down to go 6-5 ahead with a forehand across the court.

Karlovic then served for the set, sealing it with an ace, one of 16 he fired down during the match.

The world No. 61 broke Tursunov, who had his right wrist taped as a precaution during the break, for a 2-1 lead in the second set and had a match point at 5-4 only to send the ball flying out.

He took the match in the next game to set up a final against either Gasquet's conqueror Arnaud Clement or Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman.

Clement's 6-4, 6-3 quarterfinal defeat of compatriot Gasquet earlier on Friday was the Frenchman's first in three appearances at the Nottingham Open.

"It was really bad for me as I wanted to play on a grass court," said Gasquet, who also won the tournament in 2005.

"It's too different. I'm used to playing on centre court with a crowd and now we play on an indoor court -- it's not the same and there are no spectators.

"It was difficult but it was the same situation for both of us and Arnaud played better than me."

Gasquet is seeded 12th for Wimbledon, where he will face the Czech Republic's Bohdan Ulihrach in the first round. However, the 21-year-old did not think his early exit from Nottingham would affect his chances at the grasscourt grand slam.

"I played two matches [on grass] and I think I can do something at Wimbledon. I have to practise a little bit more at Wimbledon and we will see next week."