BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2011
Ferrer Beats Djokovic To Qualify For SFs
by James Buddell|
Fifth seed David Ferrer qualified for the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in front of a sell-out 17,500-strong crowd at The O2.
Ferrer, who beat Djokovic en route to the 2007 final in Shanghai, improved to a 58-17 match record on the season with victory in 76 minutes. It was only Djokovic's fifth loss of the year and he is now 6-5 lifetime against Ferrer.
"I am very motivated," said Ferrer, after improving to 2-0 in Group A. "I am in the semi-finals. I want to enjoy this moment. I don't want to think about the semi-final on Saturday.
"I think maybe today was my best match of the season. I felt good before the match. Maybe the key was in my serve. The last times against Nole, I haven't served really good."
Ferrer first broke Djokovic to 15 at 3-3, when he struck a forehand to the feet of a net-bound Djokovic. Then again at 5-3, when Djokovic hit a forehand into the net - his 17th error of the set - after a seven-stroke rally at 30/40. Ferrer won the majority of the baseline rallies in the pair's 11th meeting, making successful forays to the net on three occasions in the 41-minute first set.
In the second set, Djokovic saved two break points from 15/40 in the second game but Ferrer made it third time lucky, at advantage, with a powerful forehand winner out wide. Ferrer moved into a 5-1 lead by converting his second break point chance in a 12-point game. Minutes later, Djokovic made his 33rd unforced error as Ferrer wrapped up his second round-robin win for a place in the semi-finals.
Ferrer hit 18 winners, four aces and won five-out-of-five net approaches. Djokovic, who is now 70-5 overall on the year, made 13 unforced errors on his forehand and 17 on his backhand wing. He squandered one break point opportunity on Ferrer's serve, when leading 2-1 in the first set.
"All the credit to [Ferrer], he played great match," said Djokovic. "It was the worst match I've played this season so far definitely. So many unforced errors. I'm not playing well - that's a fact.
"At this level you know that you have to deliver your best tennis. I wasn't on my best in the first match [against Tomas Berdych], but I managed to kind of get into the rhythm in the second set. This match, I have no words to explain. Nothing was going really [for me]. Nothing was going well.
"He was playing smart, changing rhythm. You always can kind of expect and predict what he's going to come up on the court with. He doesn't drop with the level that much. He's always focused, always fighting for each point. He's a great player. He deserved to win."
The 29-year-old Ferrer, who beat third seed Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5 on Monday, will next face seventh seed Berdych in the last of the round-robin matches on Friday. Djokovic now challenges his Serbian compatriot, Janko Tipsarevic, who replaced Murray in the group.
Ferrer has a 2-4 record in ATP World Tour finals this year, including titles at the Heineken Open on Auckland hard courts (d. Nalbandian) and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco (d. Almagro). Last year, on his second qualification at the year-end championship, he went 0-3 in round-robin play at The O2 in London.