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26th April
written by kat

Marat Safin survives a thriller against Gaudio
from the official ATP website
26 April 2003
Spanish stars, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya, both moved closer to a rendezvous in the final of the Open SEAT Godo 2003 in Barcelona Friday when each of them notched straight set victories over their quarterfinal opponents. Ferrero, who has now won 10 consecutive matches in the month of April since losing to Marcelo Rios at the NASDAQ-100 Open, defeated No. 7 seed Gustavo Kuerten, while Moya defeated the only unseeded player left in the draw.
Ferrero took the first set and broke Kuerten in his final service game to win 6-4, 6-4 and move into the semifinals of the event for the third time in four years. Moya had little trouble with Estoril champion Nikolay Davydenko, winning 6-3, 6-4. Davydenko broke Moya to start the match, but the Spaniard’s all-court game, mixing drop shots and forehand winners, overwhelmed the 21-year-old Russian, who has captured two ATP titles this year. Moya is into his fourth ATP semifinal on the year.
Agustin Calleri, who fell to Davydenko two weeks ago in the final at Estoril, advanced to his third clay-court semifinal of the year in six clay court tournaments. He came back from a set down against Spain’s Tommy Robredo in a match that went well over two hours. Calleri is now 16-4 on clay including a title in Acapulco in February.
In the day’s last quarterfinal, No. 4 seed Marat Safin managed to survive a two hour, 43-minute thriller against the fiesty Gaston Gaudio. Early in the match, the Russian was in complete control with a 6-4, 4-1 lead. But Gaudio came bounding back to win the second set. The third set proved to be a dog fight, with Safin finally winning 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, saving two match points.
Moya: “I found it difficult to get into the match until I broke his serve. I was surprised by the level of his game. Davydenko is a much better player now compared to the last time we played against each other. I knew he was in good form since he won Estoril two weeks ago and we were playing in the quarterfinals of Barcelona today. You don’t reach the quarterfinals of Barcelona unless you are playing well.”
“It was a short match. I always like to win the match as quickly as I can. The fewer minutes you are on the court, the more strength you will have in the next round.”
“I often reach the semifinals and then lose. I mustn’t lose sight of where I am in the tournament. There is still some way to go. First I am going to play tomorrow and see what happens.”
“As the week has gone on, I have been serving better. This allows me to play me off my forehand.”
On playing Calleri
“I have always beaten him in the past, but it is going to be hard. He’s a player who doesn’t like to move around the court to much.”
Accounting for his recent form
“I used to lose my concentration when I was taking a big lead in a match. I have learnt how to focus and concentrate again when this happens.”
Ferrero: “It was a much quicker today compared to our previous matches. Kuerten was eager to keep the rallies fast. We were hitting the ball hard out there. To tell you the truth, I was serving really well the entire match. When it came down to the crucial points, I played them better than Kuerten.”
“We are likely to meet again at Roland Garros. Kuerten has an amazing charisma and can find energy from nowhere. He always arrives in Paris with a lot of confidence and plays his best tennis there with a lot of support of the crowds.”
“I don’t think I am in a position to complain if I am playing my best tennis now before my home crowd. It is hard for any player to play consistently well during the whole year. My level may drop a bit up until Roland Garros, but I hope it won’t be next week when I play in Valencia.”
On playing Safin or Gaudio
“I have had a lot of hard matches this week and tomorrow will be no exception. No matter who wins between Safin or Gaudio, we are sure to have a big rivalry.”
Calleri: “I could sense Tommy (Robredo) was tired today and I took advantage of it as I am in really good shape. He played a long match yesterday against Corretja and I knew I would be in better shape if the match went to three sets.”
On tomorrow’s match against Moya
“Moya is a former world No. 1 and champion of Roland Garros. I think that speaks for itself. It is going to be a complicated match, but I am in good form.”
Robredo: “Of course I am disappointed to have lost today; you always are after losing a match. I am happy though with the way I have been playing recently. Over the coming weeks I will be playing the Tennis Masters Series in Rome and Hamburg before Paris. My goal now is to play my best tennis at these events.”
Kuerten: “In the first set, I wasn’t that comfortable on court. I hadn’t played on the center court this week and I had difficulty seeing the ball. By the second set, I thought I was playing better. I would have liked to see the match go into a third set but I missed too many points. With Ferrero, you can’t afford to miss any shots.”
“I left the court very happy with the way I was hitting the ball. I think I have stepped up my play from Monte-Carlo last week. I am beginning to gain respect on clay again. Ferrero never dominated me. I was in control of the match.”
“I am going to take this week to prepare for Rome, Hamburg and Paris. I want to arrive at Roland Garros having reached the semifinals or final of one of the two events leading up to it. My main goal is to do well in Paris.”
“This tournament in Barcelona is like a Master Series. All the best players have come here from Monte-Carlo. I felt very good here from the day I arrived. I felt very welcome at the club.”
Safin: “It was a tough match. I started to play well and take an early lead at 4-1. Then be broke back but I still managed to take the set at 6-4. I couldn’t finish the match in the second set. By the third set, he started to play much better. I lost my tennis a little bit in the second and third sets but I fought hard. I fought and I eventually won the match.”
Two scintillating semifinals Saturday at the Open SEAT Godo 2003 in Barcelona. No. 2 seed Carlos Moya, looking to get into his third final on the year, takes on Argentina’s Agustin Calleri. A tournament win by Moya in Barcelona would move him to second in the ATP Champions Race 2003, while Calleri sits just outside the Top 10 in this year’s Race. Moya won all three previous matches against Calleri, including a straight sets win on clay last year in Bastad en route to the title there.
Juan Carlos Ferrero will take on No. 4 seed Marat Safin in the day’s other semifinal. Ferrero could vault past Rainer Schuettler, currently second in the ATP Champions Race 2003, with a semifinal victory on Saturday. But he’s not guaranteed of finishing the tournament second in the Race since Moya could pass Ferrero if he wins the event. Safin, meanwhile, will be playing his first semifinal of 2003, having had a disappointing start to the year.
Moya and Ferrero have a great tradition of playing at this event. They have faced each other three out of the past four years, with the last two victories going to Ferrero. He defeated Moya in the final of the Open SEAT Godo 2001. A possible Sunday final in Barcelona would be a delight for the Spanish crowd.

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