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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Ferrero claims French crown
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Ferrero's victory made up for his defeat in last year's final
Juan Carlos Ferrero captured his first Grand Slam title with a 6-1 6-3 6-2 victory over Martin Verkerk in the French Open.

The Spaniard dominated the whole match, his experience of the big occasion and guile around the court proving too much for his unseeded opponent.

Verkerk, who had never won a Grand Slam match coming into the tournament, could not find the form he showed during his unexpected run to the final.

Ferrero took the first set in just 35 minutes, helped by Verkerk's 21 unforced errors.

The Dutchman's serve was particularly disappointing, with the giant 24-year-old having to save four break points on his opening service game before conceding it on the fifth.

It has been a fantastic two weeks and today is one of the most special days of my life
Juan Carlos Ferrero

A clearly edgy Verkerk won his next service game to bring the score back to 2-1 but it was one-way traffic from then on.

As the match progressed, gusts of wind in the Philippe Chatrier stadium made for unpleasant playing conditions, with clouds of dust affecting the players' vision.

But Verkerk stayed cool to put up a much better fight in the second set.

Ferrero was forced to stave off a break point at 2-2 but his serve got him out of trouble and three games later a dipping return earned him the only break of the set.

I never expected to be here and I can only say that Juan Carlos deserved to win and I'm happy for him
Martin Verkerk

The second seed was always in control of the third set, with Verkerk still showing only flashes of the brilliance that got him to the final.

Ferrero took an early lead and, after saving two break points at 3-2, went on to inflict the heaviest defeat seen at a French Open men's final in 25 years.





Links to more French Open 2003 stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
Runner-up Martin Verkerk
"I never expected to stand here"


Juan Carlos Ferrero
"I can win more titles"


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