Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya arrived this week with two of the hottest records on clay, but with forgettable seasons on hard courts. Now, these two friends have defied all statistical expectations and will make history as the the first Spaniards ever to clash in a Tennis Masters Series semifinal on hard courts. They've also guaranteed that a Spaniard will reach the final here for the first time in 29 years.
Ferrero set up Saturday's historic meeting with Moya by fending off Australian Wayne Arthurs 6-4, 7-6(2). So far this week, Ferreira has been the only player to quash Arthur's notorious serve. "It's really difficult to play against Arthurs," Ferrero said. "You have to make winners whenever you can. I like to play with this kind of player because I read him very well all the time."
Before coming to Cincinnati, the No. 10 seed had won this year's Tennis Masters Monte-Carlo trophy and reached the final at Roland Garros, but carried a poor 5-6 hard court record. Although Ferrero has long claimed he's as dangerous on hard courts as on clay, he's never proved that with results. Now, he's two matches away from claiming his third Tennis Masters Series title on a surface that has traditionally not favored Spain's tennis brigade.
"I've played all my life on hard courts," Ferrero said. "When I started in Spain, I just had hard courts, no clay courts. So I practiced a lot of the time in hardcourts, like three or four years in a row."
Ferrero and Moya have met six times in their careers, and the 22-year-old Ferrero has won five of those matches, including at this year's Monte-Carlo final. The 25-year-old Moya hasn't overcome his younger countryman since 1999, when they met for the first time in Barcelona.
"I beat him on hard courts and on clay courts, so maybe I'll go to the courts with a little bit more of a chance than him," Ferrero said. "But he's not going to forget the last five times and he's going to want to win tomorrow, of course, like me."
It is currently in a rain delay. They are just now showing coverage on ESPN. This was from about an hour ago (2-1 Hewitt serving up a break) and it looked pretty ominous even then.
They have not said when they will resume play. The stadium is empty--there are no fans, anything. I'll try to...
Cincinnati: The Need for Speed
Could someone have hidden Rebound Ace under that paint? Cincinnati has seen a lot of success by speedy players in the early rounds.
Topping that list, of course, was Michael Chang, who posted arguably his best result since Washington 2001 by getting to the third...