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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Federer cruises into final
Roger Federer
Federer was totally dominant throughout

Roger Federer moved into the Rome Masters final as opponent Juan Carlos Ferrero retired with injury in the second set of their semi-final.

The match between two of the form players of the year had been eagerly awaited, but Ferrero was never able to compete because of a lingering shoulder problem.

Federer will play Felix Mantilla in the final after the Spaniard came from a set and a break down to beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Ferrero had won 21 of his 22 matches on clay this season, winning two titles, while Federer had lost just one set in nine matches on the surface, and had won three titles this year.

But Federer blew Ferrero away in the first set with controlled aggression, and the struggling Spaniard never found his form under the onslaught.

Once the Swiss had broken his opponent in the fourth game the match was all but over, and Federer broke Ferrero once more to claim the first set 6-2.

Ferrero struggled through the discomfort at the start of the second set but was forced to call for the trainer at 3-2 down.

He played on but soon found himself double break-point down once more.

Felix Mantilla
Mantilla has returned to form this year

There was a huge furore on the first as Federer hit a shot long, but the line-judge's call of 'out' came well after Ferrero had returned the ball.

A long delay ensued with some disruption in the crowd, and when the game restarted Ferrero gave up the break.

He retired at the start of Federer's next service game, to hand the Swiss a place in the final.

Federer will be a big favourite against Mantilla, but the experienced Spaniard played a remarkable game to beat Kafelnikov.

The Russian served for the match at 6-5 in the second set but then hit a number of unforced errors to give up his serve and the resulting tie-break.

Kafelnikov had mixed his game up well to that point, coming in to the net when the opportunities arose and using the drop shot to great affect in taking the first set 6-4.

But Mantilla maintained a metronomic consistency, and once he got back into the match he carried the momentum into the deciding set.

He broke Kafelnikov twice and although the Russian pulled one back with a late flurry the Spaniard hit a clean backhand winner to take the set 6-4.

BBC Sport's Richard Evans
"Mantilla played one of the finest matches of his career"

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