Will Kuerten's serve hold?

Updated: June 1, 2004, 7:33 PM ET
By Howie Schwab | Special to ESPN.com

The last two men's semifinal berths will be determined on Wednesday. Could we see an All-Argentine semifinal? Or will veterans Gustavo Kuerten and Lleyton Hewitt advance?

Kuerten, the 28th-seed and three-time champion, has an interesting battle against David Nalbandian. Kuerten of Brazil has shown great form in winning his past three matches in straight sets, with just three double faults in that span. That stretch included a victory over top-seed Roger Federer.

How well has Kuerten been serving? In his last match, a win over 23rd-seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain, he won 80 percent of his first serve points and yielded just one service break opportunity (Lopez converted).

Nalbandian has played well in recent Grand Slams. He made the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year, including victories against Mark Philippoussis and Roger Federer before losing to eventual champion Andy Roddick. He made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year before falling to Federer in four sets.

The Argentine broke Marat Safin's serve six times in a four-set match in the round of 16, so he may be ready to challenge Kuerten's serve.

Hewitt looking to end slump
Gaston Gaudio of Argentina entered the tournament ranked 44th in the world, a number that is sure to shoot up after his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance. Gaudio made the round of 16 at a Grand Slam only once before this run -- at the 2002 French Open.

Gaudio did beat 14th-seed Jiri Novak early on, but his place here is the biggest surprise in the men's draw. He didn't have an ace in his last match against Igor Andreev, but he is ready to push Hewitt all the way.

This is a big match for Hewitt, who has never made the French semifinals. In fact, he last reached a major semifinal at the 2002 U.S. Open.

Hewitt's victory over Xavier Malisse was his first straight-sets victory in the tournament. One thing going for the Australian is his return of serve helps to capitalize on break points. In each of his first four matches, he has broken his opponent's serve at least seven times.

If history means anything, this should be a competitive match. These gentlemen have split four prior match-ups, including two this year.

Gaudio won the last one, in three sets at the recent World Team Championship. The final set was decided in a tiebreaker. Hewitt won their showdown at Monte Carlo, capturing the third set 6-1.

These pairings might not have the same appeal as some of the women's quarterfinals, or even Guillermo Coria vs. Carlos Moya, but they certainly have the same meaning. A spot in the final four of the event is on the line. Each winner is two steps away from taking home a Grand Slam championship.

Howie Schwab is a coordinating producer for ESPN.

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