MARK Philippoussis became the first player to qualify for the semi-finals of the US$760,000 Marlboro Championships with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over American Richey Reneberg yesterday at Victoria Park. Showing no signs of fatigue from two tough matches on Tuesday night, which included a three-set win over Dutchman Richard Krajicek, Philippoussis hit 10 aces in the 61-minute encounter to win the Red Group and take his place in the last four. Philippoussis was later joined in the last four by defending champion Stefan Edberg, who overcame an error-filled first set to defeat Holland's Paul Haarhuis 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-3 to win the Gold Group. Spain's two-time French Open champion Sergi Bruguera made his singles debut in the Blue Group with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the Netherland's Jacco Eltingh. Bruguera plays American Patrick McEnroe today to decide the group winner. Philippoussis, finalist in Tokyo last week, is being hailed as Australia's tennis saviour - a label he prefers not to think about. 'I'm not really looking at it that way,' said the 18-year-old, who credits much of his success to American coaching legend Nick Bollettieri. 'I'm just doing it for myself, to improve my ranking and play good tennis. 'My ranking at the start of the year was 390 and my goal was to get into the top 100. I've achieved that and I know I'm capable of doing better. 'People will be out to beat me because they don't want to lose to an 18-year-old. But I try not to worry too much about who I play.' His steady rise up the rankings will also give Philippoussis more flexibility in planning his tournament schedule for next season. 'It definitely takes a bit of pressure off me for next year because I can play the schedule I want,' said Philippoussis. 'I know that I can get into tournaments and I won't have to worry about qualifying. 'When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I was told that I should not be pleased by just winning one or two matches. There is no reason why I should not win the tournament. The way I'm hitting the ball now, that's how I feel.' Philippoussis put on a typical high-octane performance against Reneberg, hitting the ball with everything he had, breaking the American twice in the first set and once in the second. It is the same aggressive style he employed when he played in Hong Kong six months ago, but he now has more control and confidence. 'I'm playing the same way but now I'm more consistent,' Philippoussis said. 'My fitness is also better on court. Now it does not worry me if every point is long. 'I can go out and play the next point just as well.' Philippoussis is hoping to work with Bollettieri more often in the future. The man who produced such players as Andre Agassi and Monica Seles is described by Philippoussis 'the world's best motivator'. 'There is nobody in the world who is a better motivator,' he said. 'He has made me a lot more mentally tough. He really gets to know a person and he speaks with such enthusiasm.' In the Stars of Tomorrow tournament, Hong Kong's John Hui lost his second match, going down 7-5, 6-4 to American Scott Humphries - ending his interests in the tournament.