Juan Carlos Ferrero can win in China - he proved that earlier this year when he defeated Carlos Moya to capture the title in Hong Kong, his second win of 2002. But now, in Shanghai, the fiery Spaniard will be aiming for the biggest win of his career, a triumph at the Tennis Masters Cup.
Career Titles: 7
2002 Titles: 2
2002 Win/Loss: 45-23
Career Win/Loss: 164-78
Over the last two years, the 22-year-old Ferrero has firmly established himself as the No. 1 player in Spain, no small feat in a nation that has become one the sport's greatest powerhouses. In 2001, after capturing four titles including his first Tennis Masters Series shield in Roma and reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros and the Tennis Masters Cup in Sydney, he surged to a year-end ranking of No. 5. He has followed up on these successes this year, and currently stands fourth in the 2002 Champions Race.
Ferrero got off to a slow start in 2002, withdrawing from the Australian Open with a knee injury and then starting out with just a 7-8 record. But he turned things around in a hurry at the Tennis Masters Monte Carlo, notching wins over Tommy Haas, Sebastien Grosjean and Moya to seize his second Masters Series title. Though he subsequently lost three of his next five matches, he again regained his momentum at Roland Garros, toppling Andre Agassi and Marat Safin before falling to countryman Albert Costa in his first Grand Slam final.
In addition to the Hong Kong win in September, Ferrero's other 2002 highlights include an appearance in the final at Kitzbuhel, where he fell to yet another fellow Spaniard Alex Corretja, and semifinal showings at the Tennis Masters Series event in Cincinnati (l. to Moya) and Basel (l. to Gonzalez).
Despite his success this year, the man known as "El Mosquito" had to wait until the final week of the regular season, at last week's BNP Paribas Masters, to book his ticket to Shanghai. Though he fell to Paradorn Srichaphan in the second round, Ferrero qualified the following day with Tim Henman's loss.
Monday - Albert Costa
Tuesday - Jiri Novak
Wednesday - Roger Federer
Thursday - Carlos Moya
Friday - Juan Carlos Ferrero
Saturday - Marat Safin
Sunday - Andre Agassi
Next Monday - Lleyton Hewitt
Juan Carlos Ferrero made it here for the first time last year, and he had us muttering to ourselves. After a great first half of 2001, he faded in the second, looked hopeless indoors -- and then made it to the semifinal! This year, he's been less consistent than in the first half of 2001, but more consistent than in the second. Indoors is not his surface. But he's clearly demonstrated that he can win anywhere. Or lose anywhere. It's a thoroughly puzzling mix. (lol)
Juan Carlos Ferrero v Roger Federer (Gold Group)
Juan Carlos Ferrero knows form bitter experience just how dangerous Costa can be, having lost to him in that all Spanish final. Ferrero will be in action for the day's last match when he takes on Roger Federer. The man dubbed 'the Federer Express' will be hoping to derail Ferrero this evening and the signs point to it being a contest worthy of two of tennis' brightest young stars.
Federer and Ferrero have been drawn in the Gold Group with Andre Agassi and Jiri Novak. With their rivals resting, both men know this is a golden chance to get some points on the board early. They have met twice before and on both occasions Ferrero has triumphed but they haven't played for two years and Federer has improved beyond recognition since they last met in August 2000. The three titles the Swiss has bagged this year, including his first Masters Series trophy in Hamburg, are proof of that. All in all it should be quite a day.