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Georgian giantkiller marches on
( 2001-09-21 11:24 ) (8 )

Georgia's Irakli Labadze maintained his giant-killing run at the Heineken Shanghai Open on Thursday to move into the last eight with a come-from-behind victory over America's Justin Gimelstob.

Labadze, who stunned top-seed Andre Agassi in the first round, defeated Gimelstob 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in a hard-fought battle which saw him break his opponent three times as he served for the match.

Afterwards Labadze admitted he was still on a high from his win over Agassi.

"I'm still in shock," the youngster said. "Even this morning, I woke up excited."

Labadze found himself an instant hero at home after beating tennis legend Agassi. "I've had a lot of pressure - from people here and from some back home," he admitted. "But now that I've won two rounds, the pressure's off."

The Georgian dropped the first set in a tie-break. "I was nervous and not playing that well. I tried to calm down in the second."

Gimelstob served for the match three times in the second set, and on each occasion Labadze blunted the threat. "He made a few easy mistakes and I had some good returns. I knew he was down mentally after the second. In the third, I made fewer mistakes."

Dane Kenneth Carlsen moved into the final and a confrontation with Labadze today after recording a 6-4, 6-3 second-round defeat of Brazil's Andre Sa in the pair's first career meeting.

Carlsen only came back to the game in June after 18 months out with shoulder problems which required two operations. He reached the semi-finals on grass at Newport in the US, but went out with cramps in the first round of the US Open.

The 28-year-old is glad to be back in competition after a long lay-off.

"I'm just happy to be back on tour, there are a lot of young guys coming up. It's going to be tough having been out for so long," he said.

"The game is improving all the time and I have to improve with it."



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