Ljubicic, Blake in final showdown

Top seed Ivan Ljubicic has set up a final showdown with third seeded American James Blake at the Thailand Open 2006 at Muang Thong Thani tomorrow.

Ljubicic from Croatia upset hometown hero Paradorn Srichaphan in a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory in just one hour and 17 minutes.

�I have to look for the points with my serves. I have to use my best weapons. I think it would be stupid not to use your best shots,� said Ljubicic, who fired 17 aces in the match.

�When I break this early, I don�t let him back in the match so it�s very difficult for the crowd to get involved.�

�Paradorn is a very good person. I would love to see him to win this title definitely but not this year,� Ljubicic added.

The Thailand number one said he was disappointed that he could not do anything against Ljubicic.

�I could not really play my game. He made a lot of aces which it was really difficult to break his game.� said Srichaphan.

The top seed will have a final-round clash against third-seeded James Blake who crushed Marat Safin in a tense three-set match.
The 26-year-old American came from one set deficit to beat his Russian opponent 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) in two hours and four minutes.

In the see-sawing final set, Safin was inspired by the cheering crowd and broke his American opponent�s service game back in the 12th game but it was not enough to help him win the tie breaker.

�I�ve been out for a while from injuries. It�s very difficult for me to play. It took me five months to recover. Now I�m looking forward to play in the next tournaments hoping to be seeded in the Australian Open next year,� the world #72 said.

Blake who is after his fourth ATP title said �I don�t think it�s gonna take Safin quite as long to get his confident back. He got such a talent and before he knows he�s going to be in the winner�s circle again. He can be right back in the Grand Slam circles anytime if he can just put those games together.�

Blake is now 49-21 on the season trailing only world number one Roger Federer with eight and Rafael Nadal with five and remains on course for a place in the Masters Cup Bong88 in Shanghai at the end of the season.

In Doubles Semi-finals, Andy Murray and Jamie Murray beat Chris Haggard of South Africa and Jordan Kerr of Australia 7-6(2), 6-4 to reach their first ATP doubles final.

The British brothers who just started playing together this year will face top seed Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israeli who defeated Ashley Fisher of Australia and American Tripp Phillips 6-1, 6-4.