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Doesn't sound too modest, does he?
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BARCELONA (Ticker) - Marat Safin unleashed a dozen aces Saturday and knocked off top seed and crowd favorite Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-4, 6-3, to reach the final of the $1.08 million Open Seat Godo tennis event.

The fourth seed from Russia, Safin will vie for the trophy Sunday against second-seeded Spaniard Carlos Moya, who advanced with a 7-6 (7-2) victory over Argentine Agustin Calleri.

Safin has been slumping this year, playing his first semifinal this week in his first claycourt appearance of 2003.

The 2000 U.S. Open champion last competed for a title at the Paris Masters in November, winning the week before the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

"I won here three years ago, but a lot of things have changed," he said. "Now I'm the man to beat. I like my claycourt game now. I'm playing quickly and putting the pressure on my opponents. I need to keep motivated and aggressive."

Safin used a power game to his advantage against Ferrero, who won a week ago in Monte Carlo and was unbeaten in 10 straight matches - including the Davis Cup - on red dirt.

"Hard matches are what I need now, I need to build up my confidence again," Safin said. "Today certainly helped in that. I want to start winning tournaments and earning points again."

The Russian won the first set as Ferrero sliced short, then double-faulted. From then on, Safin grabbed the momentum, racing to 5-0 on an ace. His backhand down the line did much of the damage against the crowd favorite.

Safin let it slip just slightly as Ferrero saved a match point before the big Russian gathered his game again for the final dash to victory. He fired two aces in a row to end it after 70 minutes.

Ferrero heads south to his hometown of Valencia, determined to keep up his preparation for the French Open next month.

"I was serving well, I don't know how I made that double-fault," he said. "That mistake put me right out of the match. My momentum totally stopped and he continued to play great.

"I'm upset, but you can't win every time, that's tennis. It was a difficult match. I don't know why, but I wasn't on my best game. I wasn't tired physically or mentally, but that's tennis."

Safin had lost his last two meetings with Ferrero - in Dubai on a hard court two years ago and in a Roland Garros semifinal last season, which pushed the Spaniard into a final against compatriot Albert Costa.

Moya hopes his luck in Barcelona will change after completing his fifth semifinal at the Real Club de Tenis. His best showing was a loss in the 2001 final to Ferrero.

"I often reach the semifinals and then lose," Moya said. "I don't want that to happen here again. I mustn't lose sight of where I want to be at the end of the tournament. There's one more match not now to go."

Moya improved to 4-0 lifetime against the 16th-seeded Calleri, who won at Acapulco in February and lost a final in Estoril against Russian Nikolay Davydenko two weeks ago.
 

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psychotic banana
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Well the truth is that if he does stay motivated and is agressive (not to mention keep himself intact mentally)...he will always be a major threat.
 

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Well its better than his usual "l'm lost", "I can't find my game" or "I have no confidence".
Nice to hear some positive words from him for a change.
 

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totally agree with Scotso! and btw THE MAN TO BEAT ON CLAY is just the man he beat today,aka Ferrero.until Guga doesnt find again his best tennis,Juanqui is the man to beat for this claycourt season.
 

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Lindsayfan said:
totally agree with Scotso! and btw THE MAN TO BEAT ON CLAY is just the man he beat today,aka Ferrero.until Guga doesnt find again his best tennis,Juanqui is the man to beat for this claycourt season.
Well... this is what we said about Ferrero last year, and I think that we can all remember what he did between Monte Carlo and RG then... that is to say, he did a whole lot of nothing.

Besides, Ferrero was being touted as "the one to beat" somewhat, and Marat beat him rather easily. So the wand gets passed around. Makes sense to me, anyhow..
 

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marat always a joker. Wouldn't mind if he wins but i can't see that happening (being fully commited through all 7 matches - not a chance)
 

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Dr. Scotso said:
You can be possitive without being arrogant :rolleyes:
And your fave Hewitt has never made an "arrogant" remark in his life, right? :rolleyes:

Hypocrite.
 

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The sentence actually is from his interview after Gaudio or Nimminen match. It is taken out of context.

The question was, what was the diference between his victory in 2000 (Barcelona) and now. He said that in 2000, he was ranked in 30's and he had no pressure. Right now, he was the man to beat. I don't think he meant to imply that he is the best. I think what he actually meant was that he was one of the top ranked players expected to do well in a tournament.

Beside in an interview published in the Independent (UK) today he already has said that favorites for French Open are Ferrero, Kuerten and Moya. He also said today that Moya will be very tough to beat in Spain.
 

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Thanks, hal.
 

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Ferrero is juz too tired i guess
Safin din play last week rite??
i guess Ferrero's main forcus is Rome n Paris(Masters)n of cos Roland Garros!!
 

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Here is the quote from the Independent article which hal was referring to:

"But can he win there (RG)? "Why not? I am not one of the favourites, they will be Kuerten, Ferrero and Moya, but I can push them.''
 

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Zhao said:
Ferrero is juz too tired i guess
Safin din play last week rite??
i guess Ferrero's main forcus is Rome n Paris(Masters)n of cos Roland Garros!!
I didn't see the match, but Safin can beat Ferrero even if Ferrero isn't tired... although I hear that Ferrero chucked in some timely double faults and then just coudlnt' get it together again. But I'm not worried about it. Barcelona is small apples, I'll care if/when he loses at RG.
 
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