Corretja blitzes Grosjean to spoil French party
Updated: Friday June 08, 2001 4:57 PM
PARIS (Reuters) -- Alex Corretja ended Sebastien Grosjean's dreams of winning the French Open, beating the Frenchman 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals on Friday.
The Spanish 13th seed will on Sunday face Brazilian defending champion Gustavo Kuerten, who defeated Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets in the first semifinal.
Tenth seed Grosjean had been hoping to become only the second Frenchman to lift the Roland Garros title in the last 50 years after Yannick Noah's triumph over Sweden's Mats Wilander in 1983.
But Corretja's relentless, looping groundstrokes undid the Marseille baseliner's game on Centre Court.
"I am disappointed but Alex played really well and prevented me playing my real game. Nevertheless I am proud of my tournament as a whole," Grosjean, a semifinalist at the Australian Open earlier this year, said.
The sizzling forehand which helped an inspired Grosjean stun Andre Agassi 1-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals deserted him in the first set tiebreak and a series of errors handed the Spaniard the set.
Corretja, who beat another Frenchman, Cedric Pioline, in the French Open semifinals three years ago, allowed Grosjean a 3-0 lead in the second set but then reeled off five straight games before sealing it 6-4 when a Grosjean backhand drifted wide.
Corretja made an early break in the third set as well, sealing victory in two hours and 40 minutes on his first match point following another forehand error by the Frenchman.
Corretja lost the 1998 final to compatriot Carlos Moya, but this year appears to be getting stronger with each match.
Since being taken to five sets by Argentine Mariano Zabaleta in the first round, the 27-year-old has not dropped a set.
"I think the tiebreak was very hard for him mentally," Corretja said. "I had the feeling he was a bit discouraged. He didn't have as much self-confidence as the other day.
"My idea was to play shots as deep as possible to prevent Sebastien attacking my backhand."
Corretja is looking forward to Sunday's final but knows the size of the task.
"I am sure that I can still improve my level of play and attack more," he said. "But I watched Guga's [Kuerten's] match and he played very, very well.
"But Guga has already a number of titles here and has time to win more... I think it would be good for me to win this one."
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