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Ferrer, Almagro To Play For Melbourne SF Berth

Melbourne, Australia

Ferrer© AFP/Getty ImagesDavid Ferrer reached his third straight quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

World No. 5 David Ferrer advanced to his fifth consecutive major quarter-final on Sunday, dispatching 16th-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 at the Australian Open.

“Today I played very good, one of the best matches of my career in the Australian Open,” Ferrer declared. “I'm very happy with my game. The result, it was in three sets, but the game, it was very, very difficult to beat Nishikori.”

Playing on Rod Laver Arena, Ferrer commanded the fourth-round encounter by winning 55 per cent of his return points. He broke Nishikori seven times from 11 opportunities to move past the Japanese No. 1 in two hours and 10 minutes. The Spaniard levelled his FedEx ATP Head2Head record to 2-2 against Nishikori.

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Ferrer is riding an eight-match win streak, having entered Melbourne Park with a successful title defence at the Heineken Open in Auckland (d. Kohlschreiber). The fourth seed is through to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the third year in row, highlighted by a semi-final run in 2011 (l. to Murray). He is looking to reach his first major final.

“It is very difficult to win a Grand Slam because there are the Top 4. In this moment, the last three or four years, they are better than the other players,” said Ferrer. “But I am not thinking about if I have the chance to win a Grand Slam. I am only focused with every match I will play.”

With a semi-final spot on the line, Ferrer will take on 10th-seeded countryman Nicolas Almagro in just the third all-Spanish quarter-final in Melbourne. Almagro led No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 5-1 when the Serbian retired with a jarred heel.

Almagro is through to his first quarter-final at the event on his ninth appearance. He had lost in the fourth round in each of the past three years. It marks the first time Almagro has reached the last eight at a Grand Slam event outside of Roland Garros, where he is a three-time quarter-finalist. He is yet to defeat Ferrer in their 12 previous meetings.

“It is a big opportunity for me to be in a semi-final. I'm ready to fight, Almagro said. “I'm healthy and I'm happy with my tennis. I think I'm playing really good. He’s hitting the ball with a lot of confidence, and we'll see what happens on Tuesday.”

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