Unseeded Srichaphan tames fourth-ranked Pavel to enter final

Saturday, January 5th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MADRAS, India (AP) _ Unseeded Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand stormed into the final of the dlrs 400,000 TATA Open tennis tournament, knocking out fourth-seed Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals in Madras on Saturday.

Srichaphan, 22, continued his seed-scalping act to enter his maiden ATP Tour final.

Pavel was the third seeded player to lose to Srichaphan, who had stunned second seed Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the quarterfinals and fifth-ranked Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the first round.

Srichaphan carried over his Friday's winning form against Johansson to dazzle Pavel.

Pavel, looking slightly jaded, started on a disastrous note by dropping his service in the second game of the opening set. He never again looked like getting the better of Srichaphan's thundering service and superb baseline game.

``I was a bit tired and nervous. My serve was not working,'' said Pavel, who was also distracted by a crowd rooting for his opponent.

``I've not been getting much sleep for the last four nights, playing matches late in the night,'' Pavel said.

``I tried to put pressure on him, but it was he who succeeded in exerting pressure on me ... He never game me a chance to come back into the game,'' Pavel said.

Srichaphan dropped his service in the second set's sixth game when he led 3-2, but he broke back in the ninth game to seal the fate of the match.

``I played Pavel twice last year, and I'd had won both times,'' Srichaphan said. ``I wasn't nervous at all. I've also changed my game during the last few months and am now playing more percentage tennis.''

``That worked for me today also,'' he said.