Confident Ferrer Advances To Cincinnati QFs
Ferrer to play Thiem next
David Ferrer is regaining his appetite for top-level tennis and the relentless drive that saw him rise to a career-high No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in August 2013. Close to a return to the Top 30, the veteran Spaniard beat his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday for a place in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals – his first at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level since the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2015.
The 2015 Cincinnati finalist, who has gone 11-2 since a Wimbledon third-round exit, will next face third-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, who edged Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Thiem defeated Ferrer in their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year in the Rio Open presented by Claro quarter-finals.
"Against Ferrer it's going to be a long and physically tough match," said Thiem. "He's playing way better again, including a great match against Federer last week. It's going to be really tough but I've got some more confidence again and I hope I'm ready."
Ferrer, who had lost five of his previous seven matches against fellow Spaniards, and No. 11 seed Carreno Busta both struggled for consistency in the early exchanges. But service breaks for Ferrer in the fifth game of the first set and at 1-1 in the second set proved to be enough for his 21st match win of a protracted season, which sparked into life with his 27th ATP World Tour title at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Dolgopolov) last month. Ferrer, playing closer to the baseline and quick to move up the court, struck 14 winners, while a forehand in the net from Carreno Busta – his 26th error – ended the 77-minute encounter.
World No. 8 Thiem reached the Cincinnati quarter-finals for a second straight year, needing two hours to battle past Mannarino. He improved to a perfect 5-0 mark against the in-form Frenchman and to a 41-18 season record.
"It was a really tough match," said Thiem. "He's in great shape. He played well last week. He beat Querrey yesterday and has been playing amazing this year. So I'm very happy. He's very tricky to play on his fast surface with his flat balls. It was a tough fight out there, in pretty tough conditions. It was a long match with long rallies. I'm very happy I could avoid a third set and I'm very happy with the two tie-breaks."
Mannarino, a finalist last month in Antalya (l. to Sugita), was looking to reach his third quarter-final in as many weeks. The 29 year old achieved his best ATP World Tour Masters 1000 result last week in Montreal, where he upset top Canadian Milos Raonic.