Roddick, Ferrero in final showdown at Cincinnati
Former world number ones Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero reached the Cincinnati Masters Series final with convincing semi-final victories.Updated: Aug 22, 2006 23:00 IST
Former world number ones Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero reached the Cincinnati Masters Series final with convincing semi-final victories.
Ferrero eased past fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4 and Roddick outgunned Chilean 13th seed Fernando Gonzalez 6-3 6-3 to set up a repeat of the 2003 US Open final won by the American on Monday.
"It's a great feeling," Ferrero, who has not won a title since the Madrid Masters in October 2003, told reporters.
"I had confidence that I could win this match but maybe not in two sets. It was a little bit easier than I thought because Tommy is playing pretty good and won yesterday a very good match against (Ivan) Ljubicic."
After winning the French Open and reaching the US Open in 2003, Ferrero climbed to the top of the world rankings but he was hit by illness and injury and slid to 98th in February last year.
Since then he has steadily worked his way back and by beating James Blake, Rafael Nadal and Robredo to reach the final, the 26-year-old will move inside the top 20 when the new rankings are released.
"I went so down in the rankings and it is very tough to come back because you always play seeded players in the first rounds," he said.
"You work so hard and week by week you are not getting that result, so you think that it never is going to come.
"But I've been very, very positive in the last three or four months to get the results."
Roddick looked close to his best as he dominated Gonzalez in the night session, breaking the Chilean in the opening game of the match and making another break to clinch the set.
Gonzalez, appearing in his third Masters Series semi-final of 2006, upped his game in the second set but double-faulted to hand Roddick the break in the eighth game and the American served out to love for victory.
Roddick's fall from the top was not as steep as Ferrero's but early exits at the first three grand slams of 2006 left him outside the top 10.
"It was weird to me how you spend four years building up a reputation and being one, two and three in the world and then all of a sudden in two months, it's like it's all for nought," Roddick said of the criticism he has received.
"I think you definitely have to try to use that as a motivational tool."
The American said he was looking forward to facing Ferrero.
"The thing that's been very good about him this week is his court positioning," he said.
"He's been playing up on the baseline and kind of moving people around. I've kind of been trying to do the same thing so it should be interesting."
Ferrero said he was happier to play Roddick than Gonzalez, whom he lost to in Toronto last week.
"I know Roddick has a very good serve and everything, but, the two times I played against him and I lost I think I had chances to have a win," he said.
First Published: Aug 22, 2006 23:00 IST