Two-time Australian Open semi-finalist, David Ferrer, earned a straight sets victory over Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez to advance to the second stage in Melbourne. The Spaniard will now meet world No. 71 Adrian Mannarino for a spot in the third round of the tournament. The head-to-head series stands at 1-0 in favour of Ferrer, who defeated the Frenchman in the 2011 Mutua Madrid Open.
Coming into the Australian Open on the heels of a disappointing semi-final loss in Auckland, it was necessary for Ferrer to pick up a quick victory to open up his 2014 campaign in Melbourne. After rushing to a 5-0 start in the opening set against Alejandro Gonzalez, the Spaniard was drawn into a grinding affair against the Colombian, where he suffered breaks in each of the three sets. He eventually closed out the match 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 but it was not without its tribulations.
Ferrer hit 33 winners and committed 30 unforced errors during the match, before eventually closing it out in just over two hours of court time. Considering the blistering heat forecasted for the duration of the tournament, finishing the match as quickly as possible was a priority for the Spaniard.
“It’s important for me to win matches in three sets because my game is based on fitness and I need power for my next match,” said Ferrer. “The most important thing is to win. Today maybe I didn’t play my best tennis but I won.”
The Spaniard is now scheduled to face France’s Adrian Mannarino, who needed five sets to reach the second round in Melbourne. Ferrer has a strong opportunity to go deep into the Australian Open draw this year, with his half featuring Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet and Novak Djokovic (who he would not have to face until the semi-finals).
Mannarino, who overcame Steve Johnson 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4, is taking part in his fifth career Australian Open. This is only the second time that he has managed a main draw victory at the event, with the first coming in 2011 against young American Ryan Harrison. Since then, over the past couple of years, the Frenchman has had an unlucky draw in Melbourne, where he was forced to meet world No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro in his opening round match. While Ferrer may not be as physically imposing as the “Tower of Tandil”, he is certainly a hefty challenge for Adrian.
The two competitors previously met on the clay courts at the Mutua Marid Open in 2011, where Ferrer was victorious in three sets. Since then, Ferrer boosted himself into the top 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and has proven to be a formidable challenge for any player on the tour. Mannarino does not have the necessary style to topple Ferrer, as he lacks power and the ability to pressure his opponent on Wednesday. This will leave Ferrer a relatively simple path into the third round of the tournament.
Prediction: David Ferrer in Straight Sets