The top of men’s tennis at the time: Hewitt (the best player in the world of years 2001-02) and Ferrero (temporary No. 1 in 2003) competed their match almost entirly from the back of the court (only two serve-and-volley actions, both from Ferrero) what was something new in Rotterdam then, considering the finals. Both young guys with aspirations to dethrone a new leader of the tennis world (Federer) had exchanged heavy groundstrokes for 2 hours 39 minutes before Ferrero  failed serving to stay in the match despite holding a game point, perhaps paying the price for enormously tough route to the final – the Spaniard entered it having played 124 games – 43 more than Hewitt. The crucial moment came at 3-all in the 2nd set when Hewitt held after seven deuces (saved two break points). If Ferrero had won the 3rd set in a tie-break, he would have become the first man to win four consecutive matches in tie-breaks (three years later John Isner achieves this feat in Washington). “This is my first trip here and it’s an incredible feeling to win here on my first attempt,” said Hewitt . After the tournament Ferrero struggled with chicken pox, and actually never regained his form & self-confidence of the period between April ’01 & February ’04 when he was constantly a Top 10 player.
Hewitt’s route to his 21st title:
1 Fernando Gonzalez 6-2, 6-1
2 Thomas Johansson 7-6(6), 7-6(3)
Q Rainer Schuettler 7-6(5), 6-3
S Tim Henman 6-3, 6-3
W Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-7(1), 7-5, 6-4
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