A compelling quarter-final match-up is on tap for Friday afternoon in the Italian Open, as world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer meet for the 17th time on the professional tour. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 11-5, including wins in their last five consecutive matches.
In a wild Thursday afternoon filled with upsets, it appeared as though we were set for another one, as Djokovic dropped the opening set to Philipp Kohlschreiber. He would quickly recover and storm his way through the following two sets, losing only three games in the process. It was a slow start but a strong finish from the Serbian No. 2.
“I was trying to spin the ball too much and the court wasn’t getting that necessary bounce that I was looking for,” said Djokovic, “but then I started to be a little bit more aggressive and open up the court. It worked well.”
Djokovic is aware of the task at hand against the 2010 Rome runner-up, and is prepared for an entertaining contest.
“[Ferrer] has had an incredible career overall, but especially on clay,” said Djokovic. “It’s going to be a big challenge and we’ll see where my game is.”
For the second week in a row, fifth seed David Ferrer got the better of Ernests Gulbis, beating the Latvian 6-2, 6-3 in 71 minutes. The Spaniard had also beaten Gulbis last week in the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open.
Although the Djokovic – Ferrer leading the head-to-head series stands at 11-5, the Spaniard leads the clay court series 3-1 and is more than capable of an upset if Djokovic continues to struggle with the conditions and the worry about his wrist. That is unlikely to be the case though.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Three Sets