Ferrer wins Spanish battle to reach Rome final
ROME, May 1, 2010 (AFP) - David Ferrer defeated a seemingly exhausted
Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-3 in an all-Spanish semi-final Saturday to
reach the final of the ATP Rome Masters 1000.
Ferrer, the 13th seed, will now meet the winner of the semi-final
featuring Rafael Nadal and Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, who beat world
number one Roger Federer in the second round.
Ferrer came into this match on the back of four straight defeats to
Verdasco but the Spaniard continued the streak that has seen him win the
most matches on tour this year to reach his first ever Masters level
Verdasco, seeded sixth, started well and raced into a 5-1 lead
however he quickly appeared to pay for his three-hour marathon victory
over world number Novak Djokovic on Friday.
Verdasco literally wilted under the hot sun and lost the next eight
games in a row.
Having reached the final in Monte Carlo two weeks ago and won in
Barcelona last week, he admitted he'd succumbed to tiredness.
"Up to 5-1 I was playing well but it was more a case of him making
many unforced errors," he said.
"After that I was feeling tired but it wasn't since 5-1, it was since
I woke up today.
"I think it's everything but the match yesterday was very long, very
hard and physical.
"I was feeling good mentally but my body was not feeling the same as
before. I was slower, I had less power and against a player like David
it's tough." When he served for the set at 5-4 he gave up the break with
a double fault and was broken again to lose the set when he sent a
backhand past the baseline.
In a nervy opening both players were guilty of making unforced errors
but as Ferrer tightened up his own game Verdasco continued to do so
throughout the second set. Ferrer admitted he felt nervous at the
"In the first set I played very badly and was very nervous. Maybe in
the second I was more relaxed and I had a better feel for my best
shots," he said. "When I broke back for 5-3 it was easier for me and I
had more confidence in my shots."
A couple of wild forehands saw Verdasco give up a break at the
beginning of the second and when he then went down 40-0 on Ferrer's
serve, it seemed as if the end was nigh. But somehow the 26-year-old
managed to rally briefly and he fought back, and indeed broke back after
a backhand winner down the line.
However, he was immediately broken again after another poor forehand
sailed over the baseline and although he held serve twice more, he never
looked like getting back into the match.
Verdasco finished with 38 unforced errors to Ferrer's 23 but his
28-year-old opponent crucially made only five of his in the second set.