Something to build on
Corretja regains confidence in game with run to final
PARIS (Reuters) -- Spain's Alex Corretja will leave Roland Garros with a renewed faith in his own ability despite a 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 defeat to Gustavo Kuerten in Sunday's final.
It was a second taste of French Open disappointment for Corretja, who lost in straight sets to Carlos Moya in the final in 1998.
Since that time, the 27-year-old Corretja has been one of the most consistent performers on the circuit, taking his tally of titles to 14 and leading Spain to their first Davis Cup win at the end of last season.
There have been periods of self-doubt for the affable Catalan, though, and he came into this year's French Open on a poor run of form, having failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in any tournament this season.
"It's difficult to think positively after a defeat," Corretja said.
"But later on I'll realize that when I came into this tournament I was on an average run. Now I've rediscovered myself. I've realized again that I can play tennis."
After taking the first set 7-3 on the tiebreak, Corretja missed a break point in game 11 that would have given him the chance to serve for the second at 6-5.
Instead, the Brazilian held his serve, broke Corretja in the next and went on to complete a victory that gave him a third French Open title.
"You never know," Corretja mused after the game. "Things were going in my favor before that moment and taking that game could have made it a different match.
"It was a difficult way to lose the second set and after that he started to serve very well.
"He made things very difficult for me, I lost my focus and my strategy and my chance passed me by."
Corretja acknowledged this week that his attitude going into the 1998 final against Moya might not have been perfect, as he went up against his friend and countryman.
This time there could be no question about his desire as he fought for every point and came close to upsetting the world number one, defending champion and top seed.
"This time I can be very satisfied with the way I played," he said.
"I don't want to suggest for a moment that I gifted the match in 1998 to Moya. Don't misunderstand me. He was better than me and he deserved it.
"But today was a bit different. This time I'm much happier. I went into the game thinking I had the chance to win and I did have chances.
"I played at my limit. I'm going with my head held high and that's important."
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