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20th April
written by kat

20 April 2003
Juan Carlos Ferrero cruised to his third career Tennis Masters Series title Sunday with a straight set victory over 21-year-old Argentine Guillermo Coria at the Tennis Masters Monte-Carlo.
It was Ferrero’s 12th consecutive match victory at the Monte-Carlo Country Club following his run to the title here last year. He is just the third player to win back-to-back titles here in the past three decades, joining the likes of Bjorn Borg (1979-80) and Thomas Muster (1995-96) as repeat champions.
Ferrero now has three Tennis Masters Series shields, having also captured the Tennis Masters Hamburg in 2001.
Ferrero broke Coria in the first game of the match and controlled the baseline rallies throughout the first set. Coria, meanwhile, did not play the kind of flawless, error-free tennis he had demonstrated in straight set wins over Carlos Moya and Juan-Ignacio Chela.
After taking the first set 6-2, Ferrero jumped to a 3-0 lead before Coria broke back. But Ferrero continued to cruise winning in just over one hour 6-2, 6-2.
“It was a great week for me. I started playing just normal tennis early in the week. But my mentality was really strong even in my matches against Mantilla and Gaudio [where he was down a set in each], when I kept fighting,” said Ferrero.
“The last two finals I played in I lost, so today I really thought I played unbelievable. I made very few mistakes and hit a lot of winners. I didn’t want him to be able to get up on me at the start.”
Coria never appeared to get on the right track. “He was a level above me today. The weather affected me a lot. The balls were heavier,” the Argentine said. “I didn’t relax and my shots were landing short and he was taking advantage of that.”
Coria’s week will take him to 7th in the ATP Champions Race. “Despite my loss I thought I had a great week, and I can take a lot of positives from it.”
As gray rain clouds loomed over this Mediterranean coastal city, play began about one hour after the scheduled 2:30 pm start with the match being shortened by the tournament to best-of-three sets.
Ferrero said the decision to play best-of-three sets was the right one.
“The conditions were fine for us,” he said. “We talked with the referees beforehand and you never know how long it would take to finish a best-of-five set match with possible rain. We could have been here for two days. So we were happy with the change.”
The victory by Ferrero moves him to third in the ATP Champions Race 2003 and makes him just the fifth player to win three Tennis Masters Series titles on clay following Muster, Andrei Medvedev, Gustavo Kuerten and Marcelo Rios.

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