Ferrer through to Malaysian Open 2012 semis, plays Benneteau next

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David Ferrer comes back against Sijsling to set up a 2012 Malaysian Open semifinal clash against Julien Bennetau.

Top seed Ferrer had to put in a lot of energy to eliminate unseeded Dutch player Igor Sijsling. It was a tactical rather than spectacular match with World No. 97 Sijsling surprising the tournament’s number one already in the opening game to ensure a break advantage. With the help of strong first serves the Dutchman managed to avoid any upsets until the closing game of the set. He might have gone up 40-15 at 5-4, but missed two volleys straight after. He found a perfect answer by pounding an ace, yet a misplaced down-the-line backhand cost him of another wasted set point. Ferrer got a lifeline here as he produced his first break point moments later, but his opponent soon replied with two well executed net attacks and a winner to wrap up the opener.

Sijsling caught a slight knee injury in the last game of the first set which he has not been able to shake off completely. This has influenced his second set style of play as he became selective with his runs and mainly relied on his first serve as well as on frequent drop shots. This approach was not effective enough as Ferrer achieved an early break advantage and got himself in control of the set. Sijslings’s hopes were again up when he broke back at 3-4, but was unlucky to drop another serve immediately after that. 25-year-old Dutchman did not generate any more break point opportunities and the clash was extended to three sets.

The underdog kept fighting in the decider, but fifth-ranked Spaniard has seemed to have been a step in front of him throughout the set. Sijsling bounced back after his first loss of serve, but got himself in trouble again as he went 0-30 down in the subsequent game. Two consecutive double faults followed, showing first serious signs of Sijsling’s frustration. Nevertheless, it was too soon to write him off as he generated triple break point at 5-4, yet he missed a couple of hasty shots, allowing Ferrer to get a hold of his game and force a deuce. Squandering the fourth break point of the game shortly after was more the Dutchman could afford. Experienced Ferrer thus found his way to the first match ball and was happy to see Sijsling’s return land just behind the baseline. In the end, Ferrer has proved to be the more consistent of the players. It was not a vintage performance by any means, but still enough for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory after a bit more than two hours of tennis.

Ferrer’s semifinal challenger seventh seed French Bennetau will be granted more rest as he smashed out Alejandro Falla of Colombia in less than an hour. Unseeded Falla had no chance to match Bennetau’s tempo and was trailing behind for the entire match. The Frenchman converted four out of his five break point chances which meant he stole two breaks in each of the sets. Falla picked up only a handful of points on Bennetau’s serve and never got close to upsetting 34th-ranked Frenchman who served out the match confidently for a 6-2, 6-2 triumph.

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