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Mexican Open has a surprise

Galo Blanco crashes party with emotional upset

ACAPULCO, Mexico — Top-ranked Gustavo Kuerten and wild card Galo Blanco advanced Saturday to the finals of the Mexican Open, as did the top two female seeds, Elena Dementieva and Amanda Coetzer.

Blanco upset third-seeded Carlos Moya 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in an emotional duel of strength and endurance between the Spaniards.

"It was a difficult match because we played at a very high level. Luck was on my side," Blanco said. "The final will be tough. I hope (Kuerten) is a little tired and I can take advantage of that."

Kuerten and Canas relied more on technique, and the top-ranked Brazilian easily bested his Argentinian rival 6-1, 6-4.

"I played my best game in the entire tournament. I made very few mistakes," Kuerten said. "When I get to the semifinals and finals, I know I'm dangerous because I get into my rhythm. Tomorrow will depend on me."

But Kuerten conceded he would be tired for Sunday's final because he played two semifinal matches Saturday — singles and doubles.

In the doubles, Kuerten and his American partner, Donald Johnson, defeated Argentinians Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriguez 7-6 (2), 6-1.

Dementieva, a Russian, defeated Spain's Nuria Llagostera easily 6-2, 6-1 in a match that lasted only 62 minutes. Dementieva, who has never won a tournament, continued her dominant play.

"I haven't lost any sets, so I don't feel tired," Dementieva said. "It's the second final in my life, so I'm very happy."

"She played at a very fast rhythm," Llagostera said. "I couldn't keep up. I ran out of strength."

Coetzer, from South Africa, defeated fourth-seeded Paola Suarez of Argentina 6-4, 6-3, though she fell behind in each set before coming back. Suarez, with the crowd cheering her, screamed at her mistakes and hit the ball high in the air in frustration.

Coetzer last played Dementieva nearly a year ago, but said the Russian has changed since then.

"She's gotten a lot stronger. She's improved a lot. So I'm not 100 percent sure what to expect," she said. "I'll have to play really, really well."

Dementieva said she feared facing Coetzer in the finals, and would have preferred Suarez.

"With Coetzer you have to have a lot of patience because she returns everything," Dementieva said.

Also, Spaniards Maria Jose Martinez and Ana Medina beat Suarez and Spain's Virginia Ruano to win the women's doubles title 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5.

Later Saturday, Suarez and Spain's Virginia Ruano were facing Spaniards Maria Jose Martinez and Ana Medina in the women's doubles final.

The women's semifinal matches were postponed Friday after a downpour unheard of in sunny Acapulco drenched the courts and delayed play. The sun was baking the clay courts again on Saturday.