Sweden's Magnus Norman, the hottest player on the men's tour this year, survived a duel against Russia's Marat Safin, Wednesday, to reach the Roland Garros semifinals.
The 24-year-old downed the 20-year-old 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, and must now get past unseeded Argentine Franco Squillari, Friday, before he can hope to be accepted as the best player in the world, even though he leads the ATP Champions Race standings.
"I've never been in a Grand Slam final. That's motivation enough. I've been working so hard for this. I'm going to work even harder on Friday to be able to get that final," third-seeded Norman vowed.
Norman gained his points by taking advantage of Safin's distracted demeanor, every time Safin bounced his racket on the court, talked to himself, or railed at a hovering helicopter over the stadium, Norman saw it as an opportunity to gain points.
"I'm not showing any emotions, I'm not trying to waste too much energy on things that don't bother the tennis," Norman said. "For example, the helicopter. Marat got a little bit crazy. But I saw it as an opportunity. You know, 'Let's not say anything about the helicopter. Let him do it.' He did, however, lose a couple of points after the incident. I see those kinds of things as an opportunity for myself instead of a problem."
Norman did allow a little emotion to peep through when he received a time violation and then fumed as he had what he thought was an ace ruled out.
"That brought back the best in me. I got really pumped up" - (ٍSeveral Sources)
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