Ferrero beats Rochus at Valencia Open

VALENCIA, Spain, May 4 (UPI) -- Top-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero rolled over Christophe Rochus of Belgium, 6-2, 6-4, Sunday in the final of the $400,000 Valencia Open.

Ferrero claimed his second title of the year and ninth of his career. He did not drop a set this week, needing an average of 1 hour, 21 minutes per victory. His shortest match was the final, which lasted only 66 minutes.


"I am not that far away from becoming the No. 1 player in the world," said Ferrero, who earned 35 points to move into second place in the ATP Champions Race. "I am only around 1,000 points away from achieving it. The key will be whether I can play better and more consistently on hard courts.

"If I continue to play well on the European claycourt season and then take that form to the hard courts in the United States, I could finish the year as the world No. 1."

Ferrero already is dominating on the dirt. The 23-year-old is 17-1 on clay this season, with a win at the Monte Carlo Masters, and holds a 29-6 match record this year. He plays next week at the Rome Masters.


"From here I won't be getting much rest, but I am looking forward to playing Rome as it is one of the most important tournaments on the circuit," last year's French Open finalist said.

If this tournament was not in his home country, Ferrero would not have played this week.

"I have been receiving treatment on my right arm all week for a minor injury, but it is not serious," he said. "With a day's rest, it should be fine."

Rochus was unable to win his first career ATP final. Prior to this week, he had lost in the first or second round at every tournament in 2003. He raised his season record to 6-8.

"It has been a very important week for me," the 24-year-old Belgian said. "My ranking should be close to entering the top 100 again, allowing me to play in the main draw of tournaments. Recently, I have had to play a lot of qualifying rounds. I know I have the game to beat a lot of good players."

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