A 12th encounter between World no. 3 David Ferrer (Player Profile) and Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka (Player Profile) takes place in the third set of group stage matches for Group A today afternoon. Ferrer holds a 7-4 lead in the head-to-head series and would end Wawrinka’s hopes at the World Tour Finals should he defeat him.
The Swiss No. 2 played a heart-breaking contest against Rafael Nadal in his second group match, where he fought valiantly back from a break down in both sets to reach tiebreakers with the Spaniard. While the tiebreakers were competitive and Wawrinka had opportunities to close out the set, Nadal would stubbornly find a way to remain a force on the other side of the net. ‘Stan the Man’ would eventually lose a 7-6, 7-6 contest to Nadal, allowing him to secure the No. 1 ranking for the remainder of the year. It will be a tough match to recover from for Wawrinka, who committed few errors to remain competitive with Nadal, yet he was still unable to secure his first set (let alone an entire match) against Rafa.
A victory in his final group stage match against David Ferrer is a vital one for the Swiss. A win would likely earn him a spot in the semi-finals, while a loss could potentially end his run in London prematurely. He will need to come in focused and prepared to take advantage of the weakened Ferrer.
Ferrer looked to have momentum on his side last week in Paris, when he stunned the World No. 1 in straight sets to advance to the finals at the event. Since then, he arrived in London and has lost his first two matches in disappointing fashion. He first lost 6-3, 6-2 to Nadal in the rematch that lasted 74 minutes and followed it up with an equally quick contest against Tomas Berdych, where the Spaniard was dispatched in straight sets. Now with his season likely over, Ferrer will need a strong. dominant victory on Friday afternoon to conclude his season on a positive note.
Now heading into his 85th match of the season, it is clear that Ferrer is worn out and ready to put his season to bed until 2014. In both matches, particularly against Berdych, Ferrer was clearly lacking energy at the baseline and was unable to counter the powerful shots coming his way. Considering that is one of his key strategies during matches, it is hard to imagine he will be any better against Wawrinka on Thursday.
Ferrer leads the series 7-4 but Wawrinka holds a win in their most recent encounter in 2013: a straight sets victory on the clay courts in Oeiras earlier this year. They have only met three times on hard courts, where Ferrer leas 2-1 including a win in their sole match on an indoor court. While he holds the advantage generally on hard courts, Wawrinka has been more impressive over the past few weeks and looks to have more left in his tank that Ferrer. He will be motivated to try and advance to the semi-finals and will use that motivation to help carry him through the clash with the World no. 3.
Prediction: Stanislas Wawrinka in Three Sets
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