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Ferrero flies through

Spaniard overwhelms Hewitt to set up Kuerten rematch

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Posted: Tuesday June 05, 2001 12:12 PM
Updated: Tuesday June 05, 2001 12:29 PM
  Juan Carlos Ferrero Juan Carlos Ferrero celebrates after defeating Australia's Lleyton Hewitt in their quaterfinal match. AP

PARIS (Reuters) -- Juan Carlos Ferrero outclassed Australian sixth seed Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday to set up a French Open semifinal rematch with reigning champion Gustavo Kuerten.

The fourth-seeded Spaniard, hitting the ball with venomous power from the back of the court, recovered from losing his opening service game to take the first two sets in imperious style.

Wary of a trademark Hewitt comeback, he pressed home his advantage by breaking the Australian in the opening game of the third.

"I knew that Hewitt was capable of coming back," Ferrero said. "It was important for me to start strongly in the third set and I did that with the break."

Hewitt saved three break-points in game three to stay in touch but he was unable to compete with the all-round clay-court expertise of his opponent, who reeled off the last four games.

"Lleyton made it difficult for me because he's improved a lot on clay," said Ferrero, who beat Hewitt in Barcelona to clinch the Davis Cup for Spain last year.

"I had to play almost without making an unforced error to beat him."

Ferrero goes on to face defending champion and top seed Kuerten, who beat the Spaniard in an epic five-setter on his way to the title last season.

"It's the game everyone has been talking about since the start of the tournament," Ferrero recognized.

"Now it's here I can tell you I'm eager to win it."

Ferrero has been outstanding on clay this season, taking three titles on the surface and emerging as the man most likely to end the Brazilian's reign.

"I have a year more experience and I feel I'm playing even better now.

"It should be a great game against Kuerten.

"I love playing here in Paris. I think it's the tournament everyone wants to win, apart from maybe a few hardcourt specialists."

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