ATP World Tour Finals Players Preview: (#4) David Ferrer

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Barclays ATP London Finals Draw Released: Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2012 Draw Preview

Day 5 of my World Tour Finals preview takes a look at the year of David Ferrer. It has been a great year for the Spaniard who has reached a career high of World No. 5 this year and can still take the year end No. 4 spot although the chances are very slim. Often thought of as only a great clay player, this year has shown that he is a big threat on all surfaces.

Titles: Auckland (Hard), Acapulco (Clay), Buenos Aires (Clay), Bastad (Clay)

The year started great for him three titles in his first four tournaments, the only loss for him was against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. Before the straight sets loss against the eventual champion, he comfortably defeated Richard Gasquet for the loss of just nine games. Melbourne was sandwiched between victories in Auckland (d. Rochus in the final) and the first of three clay successes. David Nalbandian and Nicolas Almagro were defeated back-to-back to win the title in Buenos Aires while Acapulco the following week saw him not lose a single set, eventually defeating fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the final, 6-1 6-2.

In North America, returning to the hard courts did not serve Ferrer so well. While he made the quarter final in Miami, defeating Juan Martin Del Potro along the way, he will be incredibly disappointed with his Indian Wells straight sets defeat by Denis Istomin.

The next European clay swing started poorly as he lost to Thomaz Bellucci in Monte Carlo and more surprisingly, won just five games in total. He bounced back in Barcelona, making the final, but was unfortunate enough to face Rafael Nadal who continued to dominate on the dirt. The 6&5 defeat though shows that at times he is able to compete at the highest level. After saving match points against Nicolas Almagro on the way to victory on the controversial blue clay, eventual champion Roger Federer would make no mistake in a straight sets victory at the quarter final stage.

A semi final in Rome gave Ferrer another crack at Nadal. He forced him to a first set tie break but would eventually be bagelled in the second set. The end of the first clay swing saw the Spaniard run through the early section of the draw in Roland Garros, not losing more than 4 games in any of his first 12 sets. Andy Murray posed a bigger threat and would take a set but ultimately it would be a comfortable four set victory with Nadal waiting once more in the semi final. It would be an unlucky 13 for Ferrer, who lost his thirteenth straight encounter on the clay against Nadal and didn’t even get close as the eventual champion was in fine form, losing just five games to make the final.

A big surprise to many was his performances on the grass. He dropped just one set at the Unicef Open to take just his second grass title, defeating Philipp Petzschner in straights. in the final. Then at Wimbledon, he coped with a tricky encounter against Andy Roddick who had found some form and played inspired tennis before seeming to run out of gas. Even more impressive was the ease in which he dismantled Juan Martin Del Potro in the next round in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 6-3. He would meet his end in the tournament though against Andy Murray but it would not be straight forward with three tie breaks being played in the Scot’s four set victory.

Between a disappointing Olympics, where he exited at the third round stage to Kei Nishikori and Wimbledon, Ferrer found time to pick up his third clay trophy of the year. Once again, Nicolas Almagro was the final opponent and for the eleventh time in a row he would defeat Almagro. Little match practice pre-US Open had many think it would work against him but it was as if he hadn’t been away.

After defeating Janko Tipsarevic in a five set marathon match from a break down in the final set, he would use the wild New York wind to his advantage and forge a big first set lead against Novak Djokovic in the semi final. Unfortunately, the weather conditions dictated the match had to stop and with it went much of Ferrer’s chances to make the final. He would hold on to take the first set but would do very little for the rest of the match, taking just seven games.

Like last year, Spain would make the Davis Cup final and two wins from Ferrer would be key. Sam Querrey and John Isner would both take the opening sets in their respective rubbers but would eventually be defeated in four sets, the latter confirming Spain’s final spot where they face Czech Republic.

The Asian swing was a disaster, with injury problems plaguing him in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. He looked to be struggling in Malaysia in a 6-4 6-1 defeat to Julien Benneteau and even more so in China and would eventually retire from the match.

He is currently in the midst of a seven match winning streak having won the title in Valencia where he defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final. He also had the honour of partnering with Juan Carlos Ferrero in his last tournament before retirement. The pair made the semi finals before losing in straight sets.

Ferrer has a great chance for his first Masters title in Paris with the “Big 4″ out but it could be at the expense of his performances in London. It would be great for Ferrer, who is still often underrated, if he could cap off a great season with such a title.

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