ROLAND GARROS 2002
Costa Denies Ferrero First Major
by James Buddell|
Costa, the No. 20 seed, defeated his fellow Spaniard, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the No. 11 seed and a major champion in waiting, 6-1, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 in the final on a perfect Sunday in Paris. It was his first tournament victory in three years.
“I think today was the best match of my life,” said 26-year-old Costa, competing in his first major final. “I was playing unbelievable tennis. I was playing so hard, trying all the time, looking for the point all the time. I was a little surprised because in a final I was supposed to be nervous.”
Ferrero, who sprained his ankle 10 days ago, blamed his injury rather than stage fright after he committed 60 unforced errors and hit five double faults, including the last one on match point. “I had some problems with my body,” said Ferrero. “I try all the time to play good in the final, you know, but the first two sets, I couldn't play because I feel so much pain.”
Ferrero, who lost to Gustavo Kuerten in the semi-finals for the past two years, was favoured beforehand to lift his first major title, but Costa overwhelmed Ferrero with a stunning barrage fuelled by wins over Kuerten and last year’s runner-up Alex Corretja, his best man.
A rain shower forced the players off Court Philippe Chatrier for 30 minutes at 1-1 in the first set, before Costa immediately broke Ferrero on their return. A double fault and a forehand error from Ferrero handed Costa a second break and he served out to take the 22-minute opener.
Costa broke serve three times in a one-sided second set, while Ferrero’s play received jeers of the Paris crowd for his early efforts. Ferrero finally got into the match by taking a 2-0 lead in the third, but he appeared in trouble at 2-2 and 0-40 down. He saved the three break points and broke Costa again in the 10th game.
Costa opened up a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, but was pinned back. Costa broke Ferrero in the seventh game, before he closed out to love. Despite missing one match point opportunity at 5-3, Costa completed his triumph in two hours and 30 minutes when Ferrero double faulted.
Appearing at his 26th Grand Slam championship, Barcelona-based Costa becomes the fifth Spaniard to win at Roland Garros.