Swiss veteran Marc Rosset hasn't had much to smile about recently and not even Tuesday's win over Basel third seed Alex Corretja was enough to make the Genevan giant grin.This content was published on October 24, 2001 - 00:51
"I wasn't pleased with the quality of the match," Rosset told swissinfo after beating the world number 11 in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-1). "Neither of us played very well and I really felt under pressure, not only because I was playing in Switzerland but also because of how tough this season has been for me."
"This tournament is one of my last chances to save what there is left to save," continued the former Swiss number one who has spent much of this year skulking around the fringes of the top 100. "Every match has become like a real fight for me and I feel really nervous before each one."
No matter how nervous he felt before Tuesday's match, few in the Basel crowd would have suspected Rosset (ATP 90) of jitters once the encounter got underway.
Both men served strongly throughout the first set. But a rare lapse by Corretja in the ninth game handed Rosset three break points. He needed just the first to go ahead, before serving out successfully to take the opening set 6-4.
Queried line call
After losing a queried line call near the start of the second set, though, the 30-year-old Genevan appeared to lose his concentration. Double-faulting to give Corretja a break point, the former Swiss number one buried the next ball into the net to fall 3-1 behind.
In his strongest spell of the match, Corretja surrendered just two points on his own serve throughout the whole set, eventually clinching it 6-3.
Rosset recovered admirably, however, in time for the deciding set. In a sudden reversal of the preceding set, the Swiss player began to look unbreakable on his own serve, while the world number 11 was suddenly starting to wobble.
A great lunging return by Rosset followed by a shot into the net by Corretja saw the Spaniard taken to break point in the set's fourth game. A further net shot was followed by one which went well wide, sending Rosset into a 3-1 lead and putting the Basel crowd on the edge of their seats.
Unlike with so many of Rosset's performances this season, the crowd were not to be disappointed. A further break to 5-1 and a comfortable service game to follow saw Rosset punching the air in relief if not quite delight and Corretja leaving the court as the first toppled seed of the tournament.
"I'm satisfied at least that even when I was playing really badly I managed to stay focussed," Rosset admitted afterwards. "Sometimes people accuse me of not giving one hundred per cent, perhaps because of the way I move, but I guarantee I always give it what I can and that was the case today."
After prematurely announcing his retirement following a first round exit at Wimbledon this summer, Rosset says that he is starting to feel more motivated in his tennis - a feeling which he puts down to his good run in Moscow last month, when he came through the qualifying rounds before reaching the tournament quarter-finals.
Unsurprisingly, though, he isn't getting carried away about his chances in Basel this week even though his next opponent is one of the few participants ranked lower than him in the world standings - Russian lucky loser Nikolay Davydenko (ATP 97).
"I could tell you that the draw looks good for me to make it into the semi-finals, but then I could lose in the next round," he points out. "So I prefer to tell you that I'll be taking it one match at a time. But I will say that on this surface my destiny is in my own hands. It just comes down to how I serve, how well I play and how I fight."
by Mark Ledsom, Basel
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