| Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero with the trophy after beating Chile’s Nicolas Massu 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in Madrid on Sunday. (AP)
Madrid: Spanish top seed Juan Carlos Ferrero scored a crushing 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Nicolas Massu of Chile on Sunday to win the Madrid Masters and strengthen his position as world No. 1.
Ferrero, already leading Andy Roddick in the ATP entry list, overtook the American in the Champions Race with Sunday’s comfortable win and is now just three weeks away from finishing the year in top spot.
“It was special to win in front of my home fans,” Ferrero said after clinching victory in two hours 30 minutes.
“It would be beautiful to go on and now and reach the top ranking at the end of the year. Let’s see if I can make it.”
Massu had been in exceptional form throughout the week, beating the likes of Gustavo Kuerten and Roddick, but he was outplayed from first to last in Sunday’s final.
Ferrero broke Massu in his first service game and never looked back, reeling off a series of forehand winners to take the first set with real elan.
Massu lost his first service game in the second set and Ferrero built on that to take it with a minimum of fuss.
Ferrero repeated the trick in the third set, breaking early on, and extended his lead to 4-1 with another break.
Massu broke back for 2-4 and had a sniff of a chance to come back in game eight, with a couple of loose Ferrero serves handing the Chilean two break points at 15-40.
The Spaniard saved the first with impeccable court craft and a big serve dashed Massu hopes of taking the second.
Ferrero, by now in sensational form, broke Massu in the next game to complete victory, the Chilean putting a volley long on the first match-point.
“I’m not happy, of course,” Massu said. “I wanted to go on and win the tournament. I had a lot of confidence but it just wasn’t possible. I didn’t play the important points well and that was the difference.”
Massu lost his opening service game in all three sets but he did have his chances, particularly when he forced two break-points in game 10 in the first set only to send two forehands wide and gift Ferrero the set.
“I really didn’t play well at the start,” Massu recognised. “I didn’t serve as well as I did all through the week. I hope that if I reach another Master series final I’ll be more confident.”