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U.S. OPEN : Frenchman Reaches Semifinals, but Medvedev Supplies Whine

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was in the with the old, out with the new as 30-year-old Wally Masur made the U.S. Open semifinals and 19-year-old Andrei Medvedev took a hike Thursday on a day when the best shots might have come in the interview room afterward.

Masur, an Australian who has reached one other Grand Slam semifinal in his 12-year-career, moved past Magnus Larsson, 6-2, 7-5, 7-5, to earn the right to play France’s Cedric Pioline and fill out Saturday’s semifinals. Pete Sampras meets Alexander Volkov in the other.

Medvedev isn’t going to be part of the party, not after Pioline scored a 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory.

A few moments later, Medvedev followed it up with a classic, spirited put-down of the U.S. Open, not seen around these parts since Kevin Curren suggested the place could best be improved by dropping a bomb on it.

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While rapping the U.S. Open for its amenities and scheduling is not exactly breaking any new ground, Medvedev carried the complaints to a new level.

After referring to the spaghetti in the players’ lounge as “poison,” the Ukrainian really got wound up. Maybe he was making up for his failure to be as effective on the court--two aces, five double faults, 20 winners and 44 unforced errors.

“This is the worst Grand Slam,” said Medvedev, who based his decision on poor locker rooms, the location of nearby LaGuardia Airport, too much traffic and the fact that the event is played outside the city.

“The players’ lounge, they cut it because of the sponsors’ hospitality village, so the players have to sit back to back . . . we have to play tennis, they drink champagne.”

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Medvedev said the scheduling that calls for men’s semifinals on Saturday and the final on Sunday needs improving, not that it will affect him.

“Just because of TV, I mean, excuse me, who are the players?” he said. “I mean it’s just ridiculous.”

The match got away from Medvedev when he failed to break back in the first set from 0-30, then lost his own serve from 40-15.

Masur is in his first Grand Slam semifinal since the 1987 Australian Open, which is the only other time he made it as far.

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Actually, he probably shouldn’t be this far now. In his fourth-round match against Jamie Morgan, Masur lost the first two sets, then trailed, 0-5, in the fifth set before winning the last seven games.

Masur explained his thought processes: “My mind was a void.”

So was the section of the men’s singles draw from which Masur emerged, thanks to Larsson’s expulsion of fourth-seeded Boris Becker in the fourth round.

In addition to Becker, other seeded players from Masur’s section who lost were No. 5 Sergi Bruguera, No. 11 Goran Ivanisevic and No. 13 Ivan Lendl.

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“Everything has opened up for me,” said Masur, ranked No. 24.

The third-oldest player in the men’s field, behind Lendl, 33, and Brad Gilbert, 32, Masur said it’s pretty clear to him what kind of player he is.

“Well, I am old, but I am not that old,” he said. “I am 30, but it is increasingly becoming a young man’s game.”

Larsson, 23, ranked No. 60, said he couldn’t keep up with the pressure after upsetting Becker.

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“I was more nervous today and I felt a lot of pressure, so I couldn’t keep up with it, really,” Larsson said.

Maybe he tried the spaghetti in the players’ lounge.

U.S. Open Notes

Wimbledon mixed-doubles champions Martina Navratilova and her partner Mark Woodforde lost the mixed doubles final to Helena Sukova and Todd Woodbridge, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). Sukova and Woodbridge had never played together before. Sukova, who defeated Navratilova in the fourth round of singles, thus had a hand in denying Navratilova her 56th Grand Slam title. Said Navratilova: “At least I lost to her in the final in this.” Sukova is also in the semifinals of the women’s singles and doubles. . . . Navratilova said she is leaning toward entering the 1994 French Open, which she hasn’t played since 1988. “And I haven’t decided whether it is going to be my last year or not, but I am pretty close to that,” she said. . . . Cedric Pioline had a rendezvous with history. His victory over Andrei Medvedev meant that he became the first Frenchman since Henri Cochet in 1932 to reach the U.S. National semifinals. . . . The eight men’s and women’s semifinalists are from different countries, a first at the Open.

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