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Saturday, January 5, 2008
Nadal outlasts Moya, advances to Chennai final against Youzhny

Associated Press

CHENNAI, India -- Rafael Nadal was extended to three tiebreakers and outlasted Carlos Moya on Saturday, setting up a Chennai Open final with Mikhail Youzhny.

Nadal, ranked No. 2, won 6-7 (3), 7-6 (8), 7-6 (1).

Youzhny, a Russian seeded fourth, defeated Croatia teenager Marin Cilic in the other semifinal, 6-2, 6-3.

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The top-seeded Nadal saved four match points in the second-set tiebreaker. He was in command in the final tiebreaker against Moya, a two-time champion who was seeded third.

"Carlos had more winning chances than me, the match was close all the time," Nadal said. "This was my most emotional match against Carlos, who's my best friend on the tour. It's not the sort of contest you play often."

Nadal leads 5-2 in matches against fellow Spaniard Moya, who at 31 is the oldest player among the top 20.

"I had many winning chances and felt I was going to win this semifinal," said Moya, who won the titles in 2004 and 2005. "If you don't seize your chances against Nadal, he'll bounce back strongly."

The 19th-ranked Youzhny ended the 71st-ranked Cilic's aspirations of advancing to his first final in an ATP Tour event by winning four service breaks to clinch the match in 83 minutes.

Youzhny started with a break in the opening game of the first set, and also had a break in the seventh game.

The second set went with service until Cilic -- at age 19 the youngest player among the top 100 -- was broken in the seventh and ninth games.