BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2012
Ferrer Continues Run Of Form With Victory Over del Potro In Group B
by James Buddell|
Fourth seed David Ferrer, a winner of an ATP World Tour-best seven titles in 2012, extended his unbeaten streak to 11 matches on Tuesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in Group B at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Both players are former finalists at the season-ending championships.
“It was a really tough match, [it] was very close [and] we had very good rallies,” said Ferrer. “I'm very happy with my game. Maybe this year, I am playing more aggressive with my shots. I am going to the net more to finish the points.”
Del Potro praised Ferrer, saying, “David is playing so well. He won two tournaments in a row [Valencia Open 500 and Paris] and he's playing with a lot of confidence. David was better in the important moments, like at the end of the match. He broke my serve by playing really well. He never missed a return in the last game. So he took his chances in the match. I think that was the key.
Ferrer quickly adjusted to the court conditions, similar to the BNP Paribas Masters, a title he won over Jerzy Janowicz in Sunday’s final. The four-time qualifier capitalised on a concentration lapse by del Potro in the fifth game, scurrying the length of the court at 15/40 to force the Argentinean into a volley error in response to a powerful forehand. Del Potro committed 17 unforced errors, seven of which came off his forehand, while Ferrer ran down every ball and absorbed his opponent’s power to clinch the first set in 40 minutes.
Ferrer, who has beaten del Potro on clay, grass and hard-courts, seemed in control at the start of the second. But del Potro pierced holes in Ferrer’s defence and took advantage of three straight forehand errors to break for a 3-1 lead. The 2007 runner-up, when the event was held in Shanghai, could have got back on serve had he broken at 3-5, but del Potro’s forehand was firing. On his first set point chance, del Potro planted himself in the Ad court to hit five straight forehands, which Ferrer – one of the fittest players on the ATP World Tour – defended. Del Potro disguised a forehand drop shot, which ended the 53-minute set. It was his 32nd winner.
Only one of their previous seven meetings had gone the distance – in last year’s Davis Cup final, when Ferrer won 6-2, 6-7(2), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. With an 11 p.m. river boat waiting to take them back to their London hotels, Ferrer regained his composure and concentration to win the first three games of the decider. He converted his third break point chance in the second game, when del Potro rashly hit a forehand approach to Ferrer forehand. With an open court at his disposal, Ferrer struck a crosscourt winner that drew great applause from the 17,800-spectator capacity crowd.
As the match passed the two-hour mark, del Potro began his resurgence. At 4-2, Ferrer went from 30/0 to 30/40 and a powerful forehand winner got del Potro back on serve. But, having done the hard-work, del Potro fell to 0/40 at 4-5, after Ferrer hitting successive forehand winners. The World No. 5 jumped in the air to celebrate as del Potro struck a backhand long to end the two-hour and 17-minute encounter. Ferrer lost eight points on serve in the decider.
In recording his 30th hard-court match win of the season, 30-year-old Ferrer improved to a 73-14 record. He is bidding to capture his 19th tour-level trophy this week. Looking ahead to his next match against Roger Federer, the player he lost to in the 2007 final, Ferrer said, “I have lost 12 times, so I will try to do my best. I think I will have to play very aggressively all the time.”
Del Potro, who is making his third appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (4-5 record) and his first since reaching the 2009 final (l. to Davydenko), won 57 of his 95 service points and hit seven aces. He hit 31 winners and committed 39 unforced errors, including 22 on his forehand and 13 on his backhand.
The World No. 7 dropped to 6-13 against Top 10 opponents in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and to 63-16 on the season, which includes four titles.
“[It] was really nice for me to come to this court again,” said del Potro. “The crowd was amazing for both players. They really enjoy the match. Even if I lost, I can enjoy this week a lot. I'm glad to play in this tournament. I will try to improve a little bit for my next match.
Del Potro next plays Janko Tipsarevic. He admitted, “[I will] try to play better than today. It is going to be difficult match because Janko is a dangerous player. He moves so fast and he play very, very solid on the baseline. So it's going to be difficult for me.”