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Tennis tournament concludes Sunday

Both men and women will compete
March 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mardy Fish will try to complete an improbable run in the Pacific Life Open with his first ATP Masters Series when he faces Novak Djokovic in Sunday's men's final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Play is set to begin at noon with the women's singles final between top- seeded Ana Ivanovic and second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Djokovic-Fish men's final will begin no earlier than 2 p.m.

Fish, unseeded and 98th on the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings, defeated three Top 10 players to reach the final, including Roger Federer, the world's top-ranked player for more than four years, 6-3, 6-2, in a semifinal Saturday.

"The guy has been Top 20 before and he's had big matches before," Federer said. "Should have won Cincinnati a few years back beating Andy (Roddick) before he became No. 1. We know how good Mardy can be. Let's not talk about 98 in the world. We know he's way better than that."

This will be Fish's second appearance in an ATP Masters Series. He lost in the 2003 Cincinnati Masters final to Roddick, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), in a match he held two match points in the 10th game of the third set.

"I've always been the hunter almost my whole career, and I felt like I was always capable of beating everybody, but it was always here and there," Fish said yesterday. "Putting together these wins this week gives me a heck of a lot of confidence to know that I can beat three guys in the Top 10 so far and hopefully, one more to go."

Fish also defeated fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko, 6-3, 6-2, in a third- round match Tuesday and seventh-ranked David Nalbandian, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4) in a quarterfinal Friday.

Djokovic defeated Fish, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3), in a second-round match in the 2006 U.S. Open in their only meeting.

"He's a really difficult opponent to play against," Djokovic said.

"He's obviously playing on top of his shape in this tournament, has nothing to lose."

This is the first time since 2000 the tournament's top two seeds have met in the women's final. Ivanovic has a 4-1 record against Kuznetsova, winning each of their last three meetings.

"She's a very powerful player so I think it's important to stay right there with her and not give her many chances," Ivanovic said. "Definitely, I'm going to look to control the points."

Kuznetsova has a 9-14 career record in finals, including losses in seven of her last eight.

"I will need to put myself out there and play my game, not think about something else," Kuznetsova said.

 

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