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3rd May
2003
written by kat

The Spaniard faces Christophe Rochus in the Valencia final
from ATP Tennis
3 May 2003
Top seed and world No. 3, Juan Carlos Ferrero advanced to the first final of the CAM Open Comunidad Valenciana, improving his clay record to 16-1. In Saturday’s second semifinal, Ferrero defeated Brazil’s Flavio Saretta 7-6(3), 6-2 on route to his third ATP final of the year. The Spaniard began the European clay court season by claiming the Tennis Masters Monte-Carlo title. The following week, Ferrero continued his clay court dominance before losing to Marat Safin in the semifinals of the Open Seat Godo in Barcelona. Ferrero is only one match away from claiming his eighth career title. In the final, he meets Belgium’s Christophe Rochus.
Advancing to his first ATP career final, Rochus ended the chance of an all Valencian final by defeating Fernando Vicente 6-3, 6-2 in the first semifinal. Prior to Valencia, Rochus had lost his confidence and suffered first or second round defeats in every event he had played in 2003. His career best result came in Palermo 2000, where the Belgian lost to his brother, Olivier Rochus.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Ferrero: “It was a hard match. The first set was very equal with some long rallies, but I played the important points well. There were quite a few games where I was done 15-30, but managed to hold. When I secured a break early in the second set things got much easier from there. I think I played well overall.”
On playing Christophe Rochus
“I played against Rochus in the Davis Cup and beat him easily. I am going to have that match in the back of my mind and I hope to repeat the result tomorrow. It is going to be a great feeling to be playing a final in Valencia and I hope a lot of people will continue to come and support me.”
Saretta: “I knew I was going to have to fight as hard if not harder than yesterday to win the match. When I lost the first set, I sensed it was going to be tough to win two more sets. My will to keep fighting hard was tested when he broke my serve in the second set. Every game was intense. With Ferrero, there are no free points.”
“I am leaving here with my head held high because I don’t think I played badly in any of my matches. I am really happy where my game is right now and I look forward to my next tournament.”
Rochus: “I am extremely happy to have reached my first ATP final. I can’t say that I am surprised by today’s result. I knew I could beat Vicente and I was playing with a lot of confidence having won three matches. However, if you would have asked me before the tournament began, I wouldn’t have imagined reaching the final. I was losing in the first round of Challengers and my confidence had hit a low point.”
“I knew I could play well and I was practicing hard, but I was missing something. In tennis, there is little difference between winning or losing a match. Now I have found it and I see this and the turning point of my season this year. I know I can beat some good players and my ranking will have improved a lot from this week.”
On playing Juan Carlos Ferrero
“I think I would have had more chances to beat Saretta, but to play Ferrero in the final is truly a gift. I am going to be playing the best clay court player in the world right now in my first final. For sure, if Ferrero is playing at 100 percent, I won’t have a chance. Perhaps if he is playing at 90 or 95 percent and I’m playing at my best, I’ll beat him.”
Vicente: “He was totally superior to me and dominated the match. It was an irregular match. I was a little bit phased today. He was keeping the balls very flat and I couldn’t read his game. I was frustrated. Clearly, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t find any rhythm and he wasn’t letting me play my game.”
“I am happy to have reached the semifinals. I won three very good matches here and I was playing here with great determination. It has been a great week and fantastic to play at home in Valencia.”

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