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Nalbandian makes first Australian semi-final

By Paul Tait
MELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - David Nalbandian stormed into the semi-finals 
of the Australian Open on Monday with an emphatic 7-5 6-0 6-0 win over 
Fabrice Santoro and said he was primed to claim his first grand slam title.

The Argentine fourth seed has now reached the semi-finals of all four grand 
slam events and the manner in which he ruthlessly dispatched Santoro 
suggested his confidence may not be misplaced.
Nalbandian reeled off 14 straight games from the 11th game of the first set, 
racing though his quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena in 101 minutes. He 
claimed the last two sets in less time than it took to win the first.
"I feel that I can keep going, so I have to keep working, keep playing, keep 
focus," Nalbandian told reporters.
"The goals that I chose to do, to win some grand slams, I'm ready to do," he 
said.
Seen as one of the few players capable of challenging world number one Roger 
Federer, Nalbandian will play either seventh seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 
or unseeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the semis. The 2002 Wimbledon 
runner-up was one of only four men to beat Federer last year, coming back 
from two sets down to beat the Swiss for the biggest win of his career.
Nalbandian has reached the quarter-finals at seven of his last nine grand 
slams but said now was the time to go a step further.
"I do quarters all the time so it's not a big difference," Nalbandian said.
"But I'm in the semis now, so I'm very happy. I'll try to be in the finals 
and try to play all the four grand slam finals."
Nalbandian's form has improved gradually since a scratchy five-set win over 
Thai qualifier Danai Udomchoke in the first round. The win over Santoro was 
his first straight-sets victory of the tournament.
Santoro, playing in the last eight at a grand slam for the first time in 54 
appearances, pushed his opponent in the first set but was simply overwhelmed 
thereafter.
Nalbandian said he felt the course of the match change after he fought back 
from 15-40 at 4-4 in the first set to hold serve.
"It's very difficult to play against him because he doesn't have a normal 
style," Nalbandian said.
"But then I started playing better, with more confidence, hitting better 
shots."
Nalbandian said he matched up well with both Ljubicic or the unpredictable 
Baghdatis, who upset second seed Andy Roddick.
"They play completely different games. If I play good I can beat both."

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