Can David Ferrer go all the way?

Kate Smart Columnist

By Kate Smart, Kate Smart is a Roar Expert

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    Last week I suggested that David Ferrer was a tennis player to watch out for at the Australian Open.

    As the tournament progresses I still think this is a fair call, especially as Ferrer probably has his best chance ever of making at least the semis, if not the final.

    So far Ferrer’s run at the Open has been good with perhaps his poorest game coming in the second round against American Tim Symczek, where he dropped the third set after letting Symczek get some momentum in the second.

    Since that minor blip, and let’s be honest that’s exactly what it was, Ferrer’s form has been pretty good. He stated after his fourth round match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori that he’s playing the best tennis he’s ever played.

    This is a great sign for his Quarter Final match against fellow Spaniard, and tenth seed Nicolas Almagro – who incidentally has never beaten Ferrer in twelve attempts.

    What I perhaps didn’t clearly illustrate in my last piece is exactly what it is I like about Ferrer’s game.

    Ferrer’s game is not at all a power game. The 5’9” Spaniard doesn’t serve a lot over 190km/h and as some of you reminded me last week, his renowned fitness is not enough to get him a Grand Slam, but there are plenty out there who would like to see him win one, and I am one of them.

    What I love most of all about Ferrer’s game is his constant grinding away at the ball. He is even nicknamed ‘The Grinder’. Ferrer covers the court in a way that few others can, but he does not merely run a ball down.

    He runs the ball down and returns it over the net only to make his opponent run for the next shot. There is one thing you can guarantee from a David Ferrer match and that is that he makes his opponent work.

    This is what makes Ferrer such a great tennis player to watch.

    There is also his consistency. Yes, he can’t match the top three but his record against Murray is 5-6 in Murray’s favour. Not too bad. He also consistently beats those ranked below him, hence, his number five ranking.

    This will most likely move to four with Rafa not contesting this year’s Open.

    His campaign is also being helped by a favourable draw. He will be a favourite against Almagro and there is every chance that after Novak Djokovic’s marathon five setter last night, Tomas Berdych may be fresher and able to overcome the defending champion.

    It will require Berdych to play the game of his life, but it could happen. Ferrer is 6-3 up on Berdych although Berdych has only beaten Djokovic once and that was in 2010 at Wimbledon.

    Of course this is all hypothetical. Ferrer does first of all need to get past Almagro but there is the potential to see Ferrer go to the last day of the tournament.

    Can he win it?

    I would love him to but as I think he’ll probably meet Djokovich in the semis and if he did get to the final he’ll probably meet Federer, who he has never beaten, it is a big ask.

    But there is always hope and whatever happens David Ferrer will remain one of my favourite players on the tour.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:09am
      Jason said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report


      • January 24th 2013 @ 9:36pm
        Jason said | January 24th 2013 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

        Told you.

        • January 24th 2013 @ 10:13pm
          matt said | January 24th 2013 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

          Amazing call

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:31am
      matt said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      Federer in the finals is a massive assumption, I think Tsonga and Murray may have something to say about that.

      Ferrer is indeed the ultimate grindr, but he lacks the weapons needed against the big boys. Still, good on him for what he has achieved with his limited physical prowess, he is a warrior and mentally they don’t come tougher

    • Columnist

      January 22nd 2013 @ 11:43am
      Kate Smart said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:43am | ! Report

      Matt, I agree – good on him for getting as far as he has. I also think this Open is Federer’s for the taking: he is in sizzling form. In saying that though, I would say Ferrer’s chances are on par with Tsonga’s and Murray is only marginally up on him in a head-to-head record. I do also like stirring up the pot because so many people discount Ferrer. Yes, he is not as good as Djokovich or Federer and is unlikely to beat them but he is still an exceptional player who is better than all of the men behind him in the rankings (except when Rafa falls behind him in a weeks time).

    • Roar Pro

      January 22nd 2013 @ 12:30pm
      Justin Cormick said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

      Ferrer is a good top ten player, but I cannot see him breaking into the elite group of top four players. The way Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal have dominated at grand slam level makes it almost impossible for anyone else to win a major.

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:08pm
      Brian said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

      I agree Berdych has a real shot tonight, and I also think that should Berdych win than Ferrer would beat him in a semi. However be it in the semi against Djokovic or a final against Federer or Murray I can’t see him going all the way.

      Ferrer needs to target the next French Open. Nadal has not played for 7 months and will be seeded outside the top 4. So there’s a 50% chance Djoker and Nadal will be in the same half of the draw, if Ferrer can get the other and keep his recent form he should be able to make the Final on the red clay. In his current form he might even win it.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:57pm
        clipper said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        I think people are making too much of Djokovic’s ability to back up for the Berdych match. He’s at the peak of his fitness and has no trouble backing up – last years AO had two long and tough semis, but both Nadal and Djokovic were still going full pelt in the fifth. The French will be Ferrer’s chance, at least to make the final.

    • Columnist

      January 22nd 2013 @ 2:02pm
      Kate Smart said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

      The French is most likely Ferrer’s best shot. I don’t think anyone doubts he’s not up with the top three, but at the risk of being controversial, whilst I agree Murray is better than Ferrer, I actually think he is a whisker shy of the top three. He’s not a champion in the same mould as Djokovich, Federer or Nadal. Spends too much time begging his support staff for help and unlike the others, he’s most likely to be beaten by the guys behind him. I think there is a top three, then Murray, then Ferrer, then the rest. Have I just set a cat amongst the pigeons???

      Thanks for the comments everyone.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 2:19pm
        matt said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        Kate, the jury is still out on Murray but since the Olympics he has been right there with Joker and Fed. There is the view that, with Lendl in his camp and a slam in his pocket, that he is a changed man. Time will tell (even the next 5 days will tell a lot)

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 2:34pm
          Brian said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

          At the moment yes
          Federer 31 yo 17 Slam wins
          Nadal 26 yo 11 Slam wins
          Djoker 25 yo 5 Slam wins
          Murray 25 yo 1 Slam win

          So yes despite the US Open Murray still needs a few more to be considered in the true top 4. I’d say a player peaks in the mid 20s so the next 2 years will tell.

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