Confident Corretja eases through to quarter finals

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The Independent Online

Alex Corretja remained on course for a second Masters Series triumph by beating Juan Ignacio Chela to book a place in the quarter finals of the Monte Carlo Open.

In the last eight, Corretja faces Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty.

Hrbaty, who had never won a match at Monte Carlo until this year, followed up his second-round defeat of No. 1 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov with a 6-4, 7-5 win against Frenchman Clement.

Juan Carlos Ferrero, another Spaniard, also advanced to the last eight with a 6-2, 6-4 win against Franco Squillari of Argentina, while Morocco's Karim Alami came back from behind to down Norwegian qualifier Christian Ruud 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2).

Corretja's 6-3, 6-3 win over the Argentine qualifier was even more comfortable that the score suggests. As one of only three seeds left in the £1.6m event, the ninth-seeded Spaniard is looking a good bet to add to his recent triumph at Indian Wells.

The Spaniard, who ended 1998 as world No. 3 but slumped to 26 last year after a succession of injuries, believes he is nearly back to his best.

"There was a point where maybe many people thought it would be the end of my good tennis results, the end of my career," Corretja said. "I have got to say that I am in a really good way, because physically I feel perfect on court and mentally as well."

Corretja, one of only three seeds to advance to round three, said he is reaping the benefits. Once you get the chance, you need to attack, to try to do something with the ball. I have been doing this for the past two or three months." he said.


Alex Corretja (9), Spain, def. Juan Ignacio Chela, Argentina, 6-3, 6-3. Juan Carlos Ferrero, Spain, def. Franco Squillari, Argentina, 6-2, 6-4. Karim Alami, Morocco, def. Christian Ruud, Norway, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2). Dominik Hrbaty, Slovakia, def. Arnaud Clement, France, 6-4, 7-5.