Safin Seals Final Spot
ATP Barcelona Open 2003
Russia's Marat Safin took just 67 minutes to demolish top seed
Juan Carlos Ferrero's claycourt game and reach the final of
the Barcelona Open with a remarkable 6-4 6-3 victory.
In the 10th game of the first set, Ferrero opened and lost the
game with a double fault, handing the fourth-seeded Safin the
"I'm still some way from my best form but I played well
today," Safin said. "My serve kept me out of trouble
and that was crucial in the match."
Safin, who beat Ferrero in the Barcelona Open final three years
ago, edged ahead in the first set at 5-4, leaving the Spaniard
to serve to stay in contention.
Ferrero, under pressure at 30-30, put a tired looking volley
into the net and then double faulted to give his opponent the
set in 35 minutes.
What followed was simply brutal, as Safin tore Ferrero's game
The Russian held his opening service game in the second set
to love and moved 2-0 ahead with a backhand return winner on
break point in the next.
Safin then reeled off three love games to move 5-0 up and was
only denied a 6-0 set win as Ferrero saved match point with
Ferrero, who had won just two points in those first five games
in the second set, managed to hold and broke Safin in the next
to hint at a comeback.
"Today it was all working: forehand, backhand and serve,"
Safin said. "I've spent the last three months with one
injury or another, and now I'm just getting back in shape. It
wasn't easy today, he started to come back in the second set,
but I saved it with my serve."
"He was hitting much stronger than I was today," Ferrero
said. "The two double faults in the last game of the first
set really bothered me, and I couldn't get my form back."
Marat Safin, seeded fourth, will play second-seeded Carlos Moya,
a 7-6 (2), 6-2 winner over Agustin Calleri in the other semifinal
on clay at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona.
Moya's victory was impressive enough but was overshadowed by
Safin's outstanding performance against Ferrero, who had reached
the semi-finals without dropping a set.