Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Ferrero beats Srichaphan

TENNIS MASTERS MADRID Juan Carlos Ferrero, who tops the ATP rankings for six weeks now, easily handled a quarterfinal challenge match by the 11th-ranked Thai

AP , MADRID, SPAIN

Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain serves to Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand in the quarterfinals of the Tennis Masters Series Tournament in Madrid, Spain, Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Paradorn Srichaphan 6-4, 6-2 Friday to reach the semifinals at the Tennis Masters Madrid and hold onto his world No. 1 ranking.

The top-seeded Spaniard broke for 4-3 and held on, taking the first set with a forehand winner.

Ferrero broke for 2-1 and 4-1 leads in the second set, winning the match when Paradorn netted a return after the French Open champion had double-faulted on his first match point.

Had Ferrero lost, Roddick would have taken over the No. 1 ranking on Monday. Roddick leads the Champions Race, but Ferrero will close in on the American this week.

"It's very important for me to keep being No. 1 in the world and also because I'm in Spain I try to show everybody I'm in great form," Ferrero said.

"But when I get on court I try to forget I have to keep my No. 1."

Last year, Ferrero was a quarterfinalist in Spain's biggest tournament, losing to eventual champion Andre Agassi.

Ferrero has won three Tennis Masters Series in his career, Rome in 2001 and Monte Carlo in 2002 and this year.

On Saturday, he'll play Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, who came from behind to beat Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the last quarterfinal.

After splitting the first two sets, Federer broke the Spaniard at the start of the third and that was all he needed. Lopez had two chances to break back in the eighth game when the Swiss was 15-40 on serve. But Federer got back to deuce, then aced Lopez and finally held to 5-3 after a brilliant display of volleying.

Earlier, Younes El Aynaoui and Nicolas Massu both rallied from a set down to reach their first career Tennis Masters Series semifinals at the US$2.9 million tournament.

Aynaoui, at 32 the oldest player in the tournament, outlasted Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2, while Massu beat his good friend Juan Ignacio Chela 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 in an all-South American quarterfinal between two unseeded players.

Massu, a Chilean who upset second-ranked US Open champion Roddick in the third round Thursday, will play El Aynaoui in the final four Saturday.

Massu avenged a defeat to Chela last week in the first round in Vienna, Austria.

The two baseliners, who share the same coach, Gabriel Markus, battled for nearly three hours before Massu won the match on his first match point when the Argentine's forehand went wide.

"I had lost the last two matches against Chela," Massu said. "So it was not an easy situation. For him, I think it was one of the most important matches of his life and it was the same for me. I'm really happy I won."

Grosjean had not lost a set on his way to the quarterfinals, but the sixth-seeded Frenchman was outplayed by his Moroccan opponent in the third set, after losing a tight second-set tiebreak 8-6.

"It was close," El Aynaoui said. "My serve helped me a lot in the tiebreak.

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