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Old 01-14-2005, 09:12 PM   #1
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Gonzalez set To Peak For Final
jan 15 2005



by Alan Granville at the ASB Tennis Centre, Auckland

Auckland must feel like a home from home for Chile's Fernando Gonzalez after all the support that the fifth seed has gathered as he progressed to the final of the Heineken Open.

In every match the 24-year-old has been roared on by a small but vocal group of Chileans in the Yock Stand, and their support has rippled onto the New Zealand fans.

Gonzalez loves to play to the crowd with his awesome forehand, his gestures, his complaints and most of all, his knowing smile when something goes right for him.

He takes on Olivier Rochus from Belgium in the final and it is the first ever meeting between the players but Gonzalez will know he is in for a fight on Centre Court.

Whereas Rochus has come from a semifinal appearance in Adelaide last week, the Chilean is beginning his 2005 campaign in Auckland and he has hit the ground running.

Like Rochus, he is yet to lose a set on his way to the finals.

Seeded five, Gonzalez disposed of wildcard James Blake in round one 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, before ending the hopes of Argentine Mariano Zabaleta 6-3 6-4 in one of the best evening session games this week.

Another convincing 6-3 6-4 victory over American Robby Ginepri followed and his one man crusade against Argentina continued when he knocked out Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4 6-2 in the semis.

The Santiago-born right-hander is through to his ninth final, with four titles under his belt and ominously for his Belgian rival, he said he was getting better and better.

"I am so happy to be in the final. I am getting more and more confident. At the start of the tournament I was playing very well, but every day I am playing much better," said Gonzalez.

"Olivier is a great player. He has won a lot of matches getting to the semifinal last week. He is very fast and can play all over the court.

"Every year I lose in first or second round here. I wanted to start the year making a final like I have here.
source: One Sport
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Old 01-14-2005, 09:14 PM   #2
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Rochus To Meet Gonzalez

jan 14 2005


By Alan Granville at the ASB Tennis Centre, Auckland

Belgian Olivier Rochus put Czech qualifier Jan Hernych to the sword in a comfortable 6-3 6-1 Heineken Cup semifinal victory to set up a final against Fernando Gonzalez.

It is the 24-year-old's first appearance in a final in two years and he is very much the form man in 2005 after reaching the last four at the Australian Hardcourt Championships in Adelaide last week.

For Hernych it was one step too far after battling through qualifying and victories over Jose Acasuso, Alberto Martin and former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero in the main draw.

But he met a player in the form of his career and it only took until the second game before Rochus broke the Czech's serve after Hernych sliced a backhand into the net.

The Belgian, ranked 58 in the world, broke again in the sixth with a sweet crosscourt backhand as Hernych was left stranded at the net.

A brief rally from the Czech followed as he broke back and then held his serve to make it 5-3, but Rochus clinically wrapped up the set serving to love.

Hernych, with a world ranking of 78, fought off two break points to hold his opening serve of the second set but from there it was all one-way traffic as Rochus stepped up the pressure.

He rattled off the next six games, with three breaks, in quick fashion and is yet to drop a set in this championship.

Rochus has knocked out eighth seed Luis Horna, Federico Luzzi and top seed Guillermo Coria on his way to facing Chile's Gonzalez in the final.

Source: ONE Sport
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Old 01-14-2005, 09:26 PM   #3
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Rochus defies critics with final appearance
Jan 15, 2005
By Alan Granville at the ASB Tennis Centre, Auckland


Much has been written about the height of Heineken Open finalist Olivier Rochus but the Belgian has been proving recently against the big boys that size does not matter in tennis.
Standing at 1.65m (5'5") the 24-year-old is the form player of 2005 after he reached the semifinals in Adelaide last week and now he is making his first appearance in a singles final in two years.
The man standing in the way of only his second singles title is Chile's Fernando Gonzalez but the world number 23 must know that he will be in for a fight on Centre Court on Saturday.

Rochus started 2005 ranked 71 in the world and he has already moved up to 58 thanks to his showing in Australia.
On his way to the last four he knocked out Nicolas Kiefer, the world number 21, before losing to eventual winner Joachim Johansson in the semis.
In Auckland Rochus started his campaign against eighth seed Luis Horna of Peru on Court 4.
The Belgian despatched him easily 6-3 6-1 before another comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory in round two against Italian qualifier Federico Luzzi.
However, that was as far as most people expected Rochus to go, as standing in his way in the quarterfinals was the top seed and world number six Guillermo Coria.
But Rochus was unfazed by his first appearance on Centre Court and toppled the Argentine 6-4 6-4 and suddenly his name was being mentioned as a serious contender for the Auckland crown.
Czech qualifier Jan Hernych, the conqueror of former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, offered little resistance in the semis, going down 6-3 6-1 and now Rochus finds himself in only his fourth career final against the flashy Gonzalez.

He said he was confident ahead of the final.
"I have nothing to lose. I am facing a guy ranked 23 in the world who is playing great tennis. He has one of the best forehands in the world. I will treat this like the match against Coria. I will go out and try to have fun and it's a great feeling," said Rochus.
One of the main strengths Rochus displays is a phenomenal single-handed back hand which whips across court.
"My game is very good. I am consistent from the baseline and I am serving better and better. Fernando is very powerful and I know it is going to be very tough, but you never know in tennis."
He admitted he was going to target Gonzalez's backhand.
"Fernando has one of the best forehands in the world. I will try to do my best and play some high and low balls and also be aggressive."

So where has this sudden improvement come from?
Well he signalled that something was starting to go right when he won the doubles title at Roland Garros last year with Xavier Malisse - the duo also won the doubles crown in Adelaide last week.
He also made the fourth round of the US Open singles in 2004.
"The last six months have been great. At the US Open I beat Mario Ancic, Potito Starace and Carlos Moya. I was playing fantastically.
"I am reaching that level again. I am playing aggressively and moving well around the court.

"I really want to win. The last two finals I have lost and you are not in a final every week. I will prepare the best I can and I will be ready. But if I lose, I lose, it has already been a great week and if I win, well it would be just fantastic."

Source: One Sport
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:12 PM   #4
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Let's go Gonzalez
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:15 PM   #5
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go olivier
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:20 PM   #6
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Go Go Gonzo! :-)
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:28 PM   #7
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Thanks for the articles

Vamos Fernando you can do it !!!
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:37 PM   #8
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Yes thanks PAV for the articles. And I can't get over these dancing banana thingies:-)
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