Davydenko advances during scandal

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK – For better or worse, Nikolay Davydenko is back in the semifinals at the U.S. Open.

Smack in the middle of tennis’ gambling scandal, the fourth-seeded Davydenko once again looked untouchable Wednesday, beating No. 10 Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Davydenko is the only man who has not lost a set in the tournament.

The Russian expects to meet soon with investigators. A British online gambling company tracked bettors putting 10 times the usual amount of money on a match he played in August, most of it backing his 87th-ranked opponent; Davydenko quit in the deciding set with a foot injury.

Next up, Davydenko was to play the winner of Wednesday night’s matchup between No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 5 Andy Roddick. Davydenko has never beaten either one – he’s 0-9 against Federer and 0-4 vs. Roddick.

Also at night, two-time Open champ Venus Williams was to play No. 3-seeded Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals.

Davydenko beat Haas in the quarters at Flushing Meadows for the second straight year. This was a frustrating defeat for the German, who flung his racket into the net, hit a ball into the stands and chastised the chair umpire.

Davydenko joined a pair of Russian women in the semifinals.

Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced that far for the first time since winning the 2004 title, beating unseeded Agnes Szavay 6-1, 6-4.

“It’s my favorite tournament. I love New York,” said the No. 4-seeded Kuznetsova, who’s been wearing Yankees baseball caps when she’s not playing. “It doesn’t matter how I feel, I just come to this court and always want to give my best.”

She’ll face fellow countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze, who swept the last six games to eliminate No. 18 Shahar Peer 6-4, 6-1.

It will be the sixth-seeded Chakvetadze’s first Grand Slam semifinal. Kuznetsova can count on an edge in experience, having made it to the 2006 French Open final, in addition to claiming her only major championship at Flushing Meadows three years ago.

Since that breakthrough, though, Kuznetsova has had her problems at the American major. In 2005, she became the first defending women’s champion to lose in the U.S. Open’s first round. In 2006, she exited in the fourth round.

And now? Does she feel as though she can win the title?

“Definitely. Yes,” Kuznetsova said. “Of course I believe in myself.”