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20th April
2004
written by kat

from Tennis Week
20 April 2004
The top seed bottomed out in Monte Carlo today. Two-time defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero fell in the first round of the first Masters Series clay-court event to compatriot Alex Corretja, who scored a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
A wild card entrant into this event, Corretja advanced to a second-round meeting with Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated Mariano Zabaleta, 6-2, 6-4.
It was only the second time in six matches Corretja conquered Ferrero. He previously beat his former Davis Cup teammate in the 2002 Kitzbuhel final on clay.
The third-ranked Ferrero, who was forced to withdraw from Indian Wells last month after contracting Chicken Pox, never looked completely comfortable on the court against an experienced opponent with one clay-court win to his credit this year.
A 1997 Monte Carlo finalist, Corretja frequently ran around his backhand to hit his favored forehand.
The two-time Roland Garros runner-up broke broke Ferrero twice in the first set and once in the second to hand the reigning Roland Garros champion his second clay-court defeat in as many weeks. Ferrero lost to another fellow Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, in the semifinals of Valencia last week, falling to the eventual champion in a shocking 6-2, 6-1 defeat.
This was Ferrero’s first Masters Series Event, having missed the first two tournaments in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne due to his illness.
Although the top-ranked Spaniard has recovered from the Chicken Pox virus, he has yet to recover his footing among the top players. Ferrero will head to Barcelona next to prepare for another European clay court event, the Open Seat Godo, which is set to begin next week.

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