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Becker Starts Slowly, Then Surges : L.A. Open: He loses the first set, trails by 3-0 in the second before defeating Braasch.

From Associated Press

Boris Becker of Germany advanced to the semifinals of the Los Angeles Open with a 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory over countryman Karsten Braasch on Friday.

In other matches, No. 5 Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands defeated Jan Apell of Sweden, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), and Mark Woodforde of Australia held off Jared Palmer, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-4.

No. 3 Andre Agassi was to play No. 6 Jason Stoltenberg of Australia in a night match. The winner will play Becker on Saturday.

The eighth-seeded Braasch opened strongly with two service breaks as Becker sprayed unforced errors around the court in the first set.

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Becker trailed, 3-0, in the second set before breaking Braasch in the fourth game.

“At that point, I was thinking I could win it,” Braasch said, “but I didn’t have the guts to go for it. He started playing better and I just didn’t have any strength anymore.”

They stayed on serve until the 10th game, when Braasch served for the match, leading by 40-15. He double-faulted and then received a warning for violating the 25-second time limit between serves.

That was merely the start of Braasch’s problems. Three consecutive backhand errors helped Becker tie the set, 5-5. In the tiebreaker, Becker led by 6-0 before serving it out to tie the match.

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Becker dominated the third set, wrapping it up in two hours before hurrying off to play a doubles match.

“You learn from matches like this,” Braasch said.

Krajicek, the two-time defending champion, endured 103-degree temperatures in defeating Apell, who upset No. 4 Alexander Volkov in the second round.

“It was very, very warm,” Krajicek said. “It’s always tough to play under those conditions. I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

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