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Defeat gives Paradorn a break

Sydney: Thai sensation Paradorn Srichaphan is looking forward to a few days off after Juan Carlos Ferrero sent him packing from the Sydney International Thursday.

The Spanish world No. 4 is the only seed remaining going into Friday’s semi-finals in the Australian Open lead-up tournament after outplaying seventh-seededParadorn 6-3, 6-1.

The Spaniard, runner-up at last year's French Open and season-ending Masters Cup, will play Rainer Schuettler for a place in Saturday's final after the German beat Mardy Fish 7-6 6-4.

Currently ranked fourth in the world, Ferrero says he now has his eyes set on overtaking Lleyton Hewitt for the number one spot.

”I know if I play well here I can get close to number one,” Ferrero said.“Marat retired today and I won so maybe I'm closer to number three. I'm going step by step.”

The loss ends a hectic ten-day match schedule for the 23-year-old Paradorn in India and here.

The seventh-seeded Paradorn, who only arrived here late on Monday after opening the new season with victory at the Indian Open in Chennai last weekend, got what he wanted ahead of next week’s Australian Open with good wins over Australian Scott Draper and Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

“I have had a lot of tennis for the last ten days,” the world No. 14 said.

“It was great to win yesterday’s match (against Mirnyi) because I was a set and a break down. It was a good comeback and it was good to reach the quarter finals.”

Paradorn, who beat Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be voted Thailand’s person of the year for 2002, will be seeded for the first time at a Grand Slam in the Australian Open in Melbourne. He is seeded 11th.

“I’m planning to leave for Melbourne tomorrow and have the day off, just working out in the gym a bit, and starting to hit some balls on Saturday.”

The good luck messages are already streaming in from well-wishers in Thailand and Paradorn is gratified by the support. “I’ve had a lot of messages coming in since I arrived here, saying ‘good luck in the Aussie Open’.

Every match is going back live to Bangkok, like today’s match against Ferrero.

“All my five matches in Chennai last week were beamed back live and when I play, either during the day or night, the traffic drops off in Bangkok. “People stay at home and watch TV.”

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