David Ferrer. Photo by Reuters
After a shaky start, David Ferrer's pursuit of a
third-straight and record fourth overall Auckland Men's Open
tennis title is back on track.
Ferrer breezed through his Heineken Open quarter-final
against Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-1 in just 54 minutes yesterday. The
light work out would have been just what the physiotherapist
ordered after Ferrer's gruelling three-setter against
Yen-Hsun Lu on Wednesday night.
Ferrer was badly out of sorts against the Taiwanese, although
the Spaniard implied he had just as much trouble with the
speedy Stanley Street surface as his dogged opponent.
Yesterday, however, the world No. 5 was well and truly
dialled in, breaking the Slovakian Lacko's service early in
both sets and then pretty much putting it auto pilot from
"The first round, it was difficult to play good," Ferrer
"It was a surprise with the court being fast. [Yesterday] I
know that. I try to improve my game and have more focus. I
was more convinced with my game today."
So were those watching. On the evidence of his first hit out
it was hard to Ferrer negotiating a top half of the draw that
included former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, and Gael Monfils, the
enigmatic Frenchman who has proved the wildest of wildcards.
Ferrer put his early wobbles down to the increased pace of
the court, an issue that had caught many players by surprise.
However once he adjusted it wasn't a problem for Ferrer, who
like many Europeans is most comfortable on clay.
"I don't have any problem to play on fast courts," he said.
"I have to adapt to these type of courts."
With the winner of last night's final quarterfinal between
Haas and Monfils standing in his way, followed by a possible
assignment either Sam Querrey or Philipp Kohlschreiber,
Ferrer's road to another title now gets considerably tougher.
Whoever he meets today - last night's match was will in
progress when this edition of the Herald went to print -
Ferrer will have his hands full.
Haas, a former world No. 2, clearly has plenty of game left
in him despite his 35th birthday approaching, while Monfils
is a truly gifted athlete whose penchant for clowning about
is, for now at least, waging a war with his obvious desire to
get his injury-affected ranking back up from a lowly 99.
Both Querrey and Kohlschreiber advanced to their semifinals
in straight sets. Querrey beat Canadian qualifier Jesse
Levine 6-4 7-6, while Kohlschreiber accounted for Belgian
journeyman Xavier Malisse 7-6 6-4.
- By Steve Deane of the NZ Herald