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Edberg ousts Krickstein to gain semis


WASHINGTON -- With seeded players falling about as often as raindrops at this year's Legg Mason Tennis Classic, it seemed only fitting that the luck of the draw pitted the two highest remaining seeds against each other in the quarterfinals and that the day's scheduled matches were interrupted by rain.

No. 2 seed Stefan Edberg and No. 8 seed Aaron Krickstein did not anticipate at the start of this tournament that they would be the sole top-10 seeds remaining by the quarterfinals. Nor did either expect that theirs would be the only match of the tournament pitting two top-10 seeds against each other. Unfortunately for the fans, a matchup fit for the final occurred two days early, with Edberg prevailing, 6-4, 6-1.

"I played quite well," said Edberg, whose concern over his early exit at Wimbledon brought him here to prepare for the U.S. Open. "I tried to keep the points short because you don't like to get into rallies with Aaron . . . . He likes to stay back and move you around the court."

The smooth Swede out-served a struggling Krickstein, breaking the American five times and winning 81 percent of his first-serve points. Edberg, who has not given up a set in this tournament, won his third match in just 1:05.

"He was on his game," Krickstein said. "I didn't serve well tonight. If I had served well, I might have been able to test him. To beat him, you have to play an almost flawless match."

Despite Krickstein's claim that he served poorly, it was Edberg who committed five double faults to Krickstein's three. Krickstein broke Edberg's serve just once -- in that game Edberg committed two double faults.

Rain did not spoil Edberg and Krickstein's evening meeting, but it dampened the spirits and the bodies of the spectators, who loyally stuck through two afternoon rain delays and one night shower lasting more than two hours.

Players and fans have sat through rain delays during five of the tournament's seven days thus far. In the past two days, there have been four rain delays totaling more than 5 1/2 hours.

Edberg plays Zimbabwe's Byron Black today at 7 p.m. Black defeated Thomas Enqvist, 7-5, 6-4, to advance. In the other semifinal, No. 14 Jason Stoltenberg faces David Wheaton at 1 p.m.

NOTES: Michael Tebbutt, a qualifier who advanced to yesterday's quarterfinals, was ousted by Wheaton, 6-4, 6-4. However, Tebbutt, who amassed only $40,074 on the tour in 1992 and 1993, will receive $13,000 for making it to the fourth round. Tebbutt, who was second only to Wheaton in aces, had 14 yesterday, to finish with 57 in four matches. . . . Two rain delays interrupted play between Stoltenberg and his quarterfinal opponent, Brett Steven. After four hours and 21 minutes (2:18 of which was match time), Stoltenberg was able to finish off Steven, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-3.

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