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  Friday, 7 June, 2002, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Spain reigns at Roland Garros
Albert Costa of Spain
Costa is through to his first Grand Slam final
Albert Costa and Juan Carlos Ferrero will both compete in the first Grand Slam final of their careers after making it through the French Open semi-finals.

It will be the third time in eight years that the climax of the clay tournament will be an all-Spanish affair.


I don't think anybody's the favourite in the final
Juan Carlos Ferrero

Friday was a proud day for the Spanish, who dominated the semi-finals with three players in the final four of the men's competition.

However, Costa said he and Ferrero will face some tough competition for the limelight back home.

"It's going to be difficult because of the national football team," admitted Costa after Spain had beaten Paraguay 3-1 to book their place in the second round of the World Cup.

"I don't know if it's more important, but it is important for everyone. It's the national team and I am a single person, so it's different.

"It's like when you play the Davis Cup, it's a team, a national team, not a single person."

Ferrero finally made it past the semi-final stage after losing there the last two years.

He upset second seed Marat Safin of Russia in straight sets 6-3 6-2 6-4 in just over two hours and was happy to be facing his compatriot in the final.

"I think it's a party. It's a Spanish party in the final," Ferrero said. "So for sure we are going to enjoy the match.

"I don't think anybody's the favourite," he said.

Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero
Ferrero was too good for Safin

Costa defeated his good friend and soon-to-be best man Alex Corretja - a finalist at Roland Garros twice in the last four years - 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-3.

"It's a dream to be in the final at Roland Garros," he said. "In tennis this is the greatest moment of my career."

Costa has hit something of a slump in recent years and has not won a tournament since 1999, but he is at home on the clay surface where all 11 of his career titles have come.

And he believes his dip in form has made him a tougher opponent.

"Mentally I'm stronger than before. I'm more relaxed, calmer," he said. "I don't feel that if I lose it's a drama or something.

"I just try to do my best, try to fight a lot, try to do everything that I have inside.

"And if this is not enough I cannot do anything else."

Costa's performance at Roland Garros has ensured he will move back into the top 10 in the world for the first time since 1997.

Big day

He had slipped as low as 40th at the end of last year and his recent resurgence has given him a lift ahead of one of the biggest weeks in his life.

"My wedding is next Friday and it would be a really good gift for me to win the tournament," he added.

Ferrero was not expecting to make it so far after injuring his ankle while practicing for his second-round match.

"It's a big surprise for me," he said. "But finally with the help of the doctor and my friends, I could play and I'm in the final."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Iain Carter reports for BBC Sport
"Ferrero was helped by a barrage of Safin errors"
Juan Carlos Ferrero
"I'm going to enjoy the final"
Finalist Albert Costa
"This is my greatest moment in tennis"
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