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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Ferrero sees off Costa
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Ferrero is looking for his first Grand Slam title
Juan Carlos Ferrero swept past defending champion Albert Costa to reach his second successive French Open final.

The third seed beat his fellow Spaniard 6-3 7-6 6-4 to take revenge for defeat to the same player in last year's final.

Ferrero will face Martin Verkerk on Sunday after the Dutchman beat Guillermo Coria of Argentina in the first semi-final.

"I felt fresh and really wanted to win," said Ferrero afterwards. "I hope that I'll have a better memory of this final and that I'll grab this opportunity."

Ferrero began in determined fashion, breaking in the first and fifth games to establish a commanding lead and trading further breaks to take the set 6-3.

But Costa came into the match insisting he was at his best when behind and he immediately proved the point, raising his game considerably to take an early lead in the second.

For a while it looked as though Ferrero was going to suffer a repeat of his nightmare of 12 months earlier.

I hope Juan Carlos goes on to win the tournament
Albert Costa
It was a testament to the 23-year-old's improved nerve at key moments that he battled back to force the tie-break.

And at 5-4 down in the breaker, Ferrero put together three world-class points to take a two-set lead.

That would be enough against most players, but Costa came into the match having three times come back from such a deficit in this tournament alone.

Ferrero had the look of a man who would not be denied, though, and converted his third break point in the seventh game after Costa fell over during the rally.

The defending champion finally looked a beaten man as he lay behind the baseline, covered in dirt, and so it proved.

After over 20 hours on court during the tournament, Costa ultimately went down rather meekly as Ferrero served out comfortably for a win that will mean as much as any in his career.

"With all the sets he'd played until now it's normal that he wasn't at his best," said Ferrero.

"I was a bit fresher. It was a noble fight."

Costa admitted: "I was a bit tired this afternoon but I hope to come back again next year and go one further again.

"I hope Juan Carlos goes on to win the tournament this year."



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