On this day: Juan Carlos Ferrero downs Nicolas Massu to conquer Madrid


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On this day: Juan Carlos Ferrero downs Nicolas Massu to conquer Madrid

Back in 2002, Andre Agassi conquered the inaugural event of Madrid Masters and it was home sta Juan Carlos Ferrero who went all the way in 2003, defeating Nicolas Massu 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in two and a half hours. 2003 was Ferrero's best season in a career, becoming world no.

1 after the US Open and claiming Masters 1000 titles in Monte Carlo and Madrid, celebrating the fourth and the last Masters 1000 trophy in front of the home fans only at the age of 23, having to wait until 2009 to lift another ATP crown!

Juan Carlos prevailed against Wayne Ferreira in the second round and had to work hard against Felix Mantilla in the last 16, winning both tie breaks to find himself in the quarters where he finally earned more convincing victory over Paradorn Srichaphan.

In the semis, the Spaniard toppled Roger Federer to continue where he left at the US Open and Bangkok, setting the title clash against Massu who advanced into the first indoor hard final in a career. Baseliners needed two and a half hours to complete three sets with not many games, with Juan Carlos who controlled the pace of the scoreboard after fending off four out of five break chances, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and moving over the top in straight sets.

Massu struggled on both the first and second serve, playing against ten break points and suffering five breaks to finish runner-up in his first Masters 1000 final. Ferrero had more winners and fewer unforced errors, also forcing more mistakes from his rival after dominating in both the quickest and more extended exchanges.

The Spaniard grabbed a break in the second game when Nicolas sent a forehand long, extending the lead with an ace and wasting a couple of break points that could have sent him 4-0 up. Delivering one good hold after another, Ferrero hit a service winner to move 5-2 ahead before landing a forehand wide to offer Massu the first break chance in the ninth game.

Juan Carlos saved it with a forehand winner, erasing another one and closing the opener with a service winner for a 6-3. The Spaniard broke at love in the first game of the second set, holding at love in game three and missing more chances on the return in the next game, allowing Massu to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

The Chilean survived another tough game to remain one break behind before Ferrero held after deuce in game ten for a 6-4, making another big step towards the title. Just like in the opening two sets, Juan Carlos forged an early lead in the first game of the third set, securing another break to gain a 4-1 advantage before Massu pulled one break back to remain in contention.

Juan Carlos experienced more troubles on serve in game eight, winning four points in a row to erase two break points, sealing the deal with another break in game nine for the third notable title of the season after Monte Carlo and Roland Garros.