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3rd September
2004
written by kat

from Reuters by Simon Cambers
3 September 2004
NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) – An injured Juan Carlos Ferrero suffered his third successive early exit from a grand slam on Friday when he was beaten 7-6 4-6 6-7 6-2 6-3 in the second round of the U.S. Open by Austria’s Stefan Koubek.
Last year’s losing finalist struggled with an adductor injury from the end of the third set and despite battling bravely, Ferrero was powerless to stop Koubek from reaching the third round at Flushing Meadows for the first time.
Since reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January, Ferrero has struggled with injury and illness, losing in the second round of the French Open and the third at Wimbledon.
After winning four titles last year, including his first grand slam title at the French Open, he has failed to win a tournament in 2004.
“I want to forget this year,” he said. “It’s (more) frustrating than you can imagine. I don’t think I have played one tournament this year at 100 percent fit.”
His courage, though, was not in question as he won the third set on a tiebreak, on his eighth set point.
With the injury hampering his movement, the Spaniard was treated by an ATP trainer but the move eventually proved to be futile.
Koubek, who lost to Ferrero 8-6 in the fifth set at Wimbledon earlier this year, sensed his chance and took advantage to level the match.
Ferrero was docked a point for abusive behaviour but somehow dug deep to lead 2-0 in the decider.
However, Koubek reeled off five games in a row and clinched victory with his 13th ace.
“I thought I started playing well after the first set,” Ferrero said. “But the difference today was that I had the injury and couldn’t move as well.”

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