posted on May, 28 2004 @ 11:42 AM
dismantled Mario Ancic in Paris and showed just why many fancy him
to lift the title. The Argentine third seed was in ominous mood as he breezed past Ancic, who himself had knocked out Mariano Zabaleta a round
Coria dominated from the outset, and played within himself to take the first set 6-3. He moved up a gear in the next, making few errors to carve out a
2-0 lead in sets in little over an hour. Ancic looked visibly deflated after that, and Coria promptly won the next set and match to record an
impressive 6-3 6-1 6-2 win.
took over four and a half hours to dispose of Felix Mantilla in Paris. The Russian 20th seed began his topsey-turvey encounter
against Mantilla on Thursday afternoon, but did not finish the Spaniard off until almost a full 24 hours later.
Safin won the opening set 6-4 after breaking almost immediately, and few watching in Paris could have predicted at that stage what dram`aa would
unfold therein. Mantilla, a semi-finalist back in 1998 but a player who has perhaps seen better days, roared back to take the next 6-2 and level up.
Not to be outdone, Safin took the third by the same scoreline, before Mantilla squeaked home in the fourth set tie-break to take the match into a
Safin raced into and early 4-1 lead, and looked to be home and hosed as Mantilla called on the trainer because of a persistent calf problem. He
hobbled on though and amazing levelled things up at 4-4 yet not before Safin had been controversially docked a point for dropping his trousrers to
celebrate a sublime winner at the net.
That decision rattled the Russian, and as darkness fell Mantilla twice served out for the match.
Despite having two match points, Safin would not give in and levelled up at 7-7 before the umpire brought them off. The pair resumed on Friday
afternoon, and this time a refreshed Safin had the measue of his man. After a few early games went with serve, Safin eventually converted his first
match point to win an epic encounter 6-4 2-6 6-2 6-7 (4/7) 11-9.