Soon-To-Be-Retired David Ferrer Relishing Barcelona Showdown With Nadal - UBITENNIS
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Soon-To-Be-Retired David Ferrer Relishing Barcelona Showdown With Nadal

The 37-year-old is hoping to test the king of clay in what could be their last ever meeting.

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David Ferrer (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer has described his upcoming showdown with Rafael Nadal at the Barcelona Open as a ‘gift’ as he approaches the end of his career.

 

The 37-year-old wild card will take on the top seed on Thursday after producing straight sets wins over Mischa Zverev and 15th seed Lucas Pouille. Barcelona is Ferrer’s penultimate tournament before he retires from the sport next moth. This year is his 15th appearance at the tournament.

“I’m happy because I’ve won two games (matches) and I’m enjoying myself.” Marca quoted Ferrer as saying. “I’ll try to do what I can and try to win, playing against Rafa would be a gift for me. We already played in New York and I hope this time I can finish the game.

The Ferrer-Nadal rivalry has extensive history in Barcelona. They have clashed four times in the final of the tournament between 2008-2012 with Nadal winning all of those matches. Overall, Ferrer trails Nadal 6-25 in their head-to-head and last defeated him at the 2014 Monte Carlo Masters.

“He’s a good friend, one of the best players that we have been watching the last 15 years. It’s going to be a special one, and he’s playing well,” Nadal said of Ferrer.

In previous years, many would expect Nadal to cruise to victory against the veteran. However, the Spaniard has experienced a turbulent clay-court season so far. In his opening match against Leonardo Mayer, Nadal dropped a set in the tournament for the first time since 2015 before fighting back to win. The world No.2, who has been troubled by injury over recent months, is yet to find his best form.

“The job is to find myself. During the last 18 months, I have had too many stops and ups and downs, non-tennis related. And when that happens, it’s hard to pick up rhythm and continuity.” The defending champion told reporters earlier this week.

In contrast, Ferrer has insisted that he is ‘feeling good.’ Like Nadal, he has endured his fair share of physical problems in recent time.

“Physically I’m feeling good, and when I’m preparing for a few tournaments, the physical problems are less, technically I’m fine.” He said.

Earlier this year at the Miami Masters, Ferrer recorded his first win over a top five player since 2014 when he defeated Alexander Zverev. Now with a chance to upset Nadal on clay, he has insisted that he isn’t looking too much into the match. Ferrer has defeated Nadal three times when he was world No.1.

“I do not dream anything, I do not think or expect anything.” He stated. “I try to enjoy what I am doing the match by match without thinking about it. Things have come out better than expected, and on Thursday I have the opportunity to play on the centre court and enjoy.”

The upcoming match will be the third to be played on the premier court on Thursday.

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Fabio Fognini beats Guido Pella in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Melbourne

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Fabio Fognini beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The Italian star converted five of his six break points to close out the match after 2 hours and nine minutes.

 

Fognini saved two break points in the first set with a forehand and a backhand and held his serve. The Italian star did not convert a break point in a long seventh game. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break. Fognini did not drop a single point to cruise through to a 7-0 win.

In the second set Fognini earned a crucial break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. He held his serve on the second deuce after saving a break point. The 2019 Monte-Carlo champion sealed the second set with another break with a forehand return winner.

Fognini earned a break lead in the fourth game of the decisive set. Pella broke straight back in the fifth game. Both traded breaks again in the sixth and seventh games. Fognini broke for the third time and converted his second match point with a serve up the T.

He is also the 12th player to come back from two sets down at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

With his five-set victories over Reilly Opelka and Jordan Thompson in the first two matches Fognini made history on Wednesday when the “Come-back king” became the first player to win back-to-back Australian Open matches in final set tie-breaks.

“I am so happy to be in the fourth round again in Australia. Now it’s time to recover. I played a really solid game against a really tough opponent. I am happy with the performance”, said Fognini.

Fognini set up a fourth round match against 2018 Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren, who beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 52 minutes. Sandgren fended off nine break points and converted just 2 of his 14 break point chances. Two years ago Sandgen beat Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem en route to reaching his first quarter final at a Grand Slam event.

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Marin Cilic prevails over Roberto Bautista Agut in five-set thriller in Melbourne

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Marin Cilic overcame Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 after 4 hours and 10 minutes to score his first top 10 win since the 2018 US Open, when he beat David Goffin.

 

Cilic fought back from losing the first set at the tie-break, but he bounced back in the second set by breaking serve in the ninth game, when Bautista Agut made a forehand error. Cilic held on his serve to win the second set 6-4 to draw level to 1-1.

Cilic cruised through to a bagel win in the third set. The Croatian player got an early break in the fourth set to open up a 3-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Cilic did not convert a break point chance at 5-5. Bautista Agut earned the break at 6-5 to force the match to the fifth set.

Cilic broke serve in the opening game of the fifth set with a forehand winner, but he did not convert a break point at 4-2. He broke for the seventh time in the match in Bautista Agut’s next service game to clinch a thrilling win, as Bautista Agut fired a backhand into the net.

Cilic took a re-match against the Spanish player, who won their previous head-to-head clash at the 2019 Australian Open in five sets.

“I had an incredible patch. It was a surreal level. Every ball I was hitting was going in. It was coming off my raquet incredibly well. I knew Roberto would always fight and he pushed me all the way in the fourth set”, said Cilic.

 

 

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Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne

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Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.

 

Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.

Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.

Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.

Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.

“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.

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