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Malisse storms into Chennai Open semis

 CHENNAI, Jan 7 (PTI): Seventh seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium made short work of German Bjorn Phau 6-0 6-2 to storm into the semifinals of the Aircel ATP Chennai Open here today.

Malisse, who won the singles title here in 2007, will meet the winner of another quarterfinal match between sixth seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori.

Phau, who upset fourth seed Richard Gasquet of France in the second round, failed to get going from the beginning and was no match for Malisse today.

Phau’s backhand winners , easily his best weapon in the victory over Gasquet, was missing today as he failed to hold on to his serve in the first set and lost it 0-6. The German wasted as many as five break points in the third game of the opening set before gifting it to Malisse with a failed backhand return.

The second set was no different as Malisse continued to his march against an off-colour Phau, who registered his name in the scoreboard only in the eighth game of the set.

Phau tried hard to serve and volley his way out of the crisis, but to no affect as he committed numerous unforced errors on the net.

Inspite of the easy victory, Malisse seemed unhappy with the officiating and argued with the chair umpire in the fourth game of the second set over a line call, insisting a forehand return of Phau was out.

The Belgian also fired five aces to Phau’s none, and broke the German in all three of his games in the first set and in the sixth and eighth of the second.

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