By Jaclyn Stacey
(January 20, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - David Ferrer won through to his third consecutive Australian Open quarterfinal after defeating a listless Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes on day seven at Melbourne Park.
In 2013 Ferrer is 11-1 in matches after losing in the semifinals in Doha to Nikolay Davydenko and winning his fourth Auckland title. Sunday’s win is Ferrer’s 499th and if he succeeds in the quarterfinals he will become the fifth active player to achieve 500 or more career wins.
“Today I played very good, one of the best matches on my career in Australian Open. I’m very happy with my game, no? The result, it was in three sets, but the game, it was very, very difficult to beat Nishikori.”
Nishikori started the match looking sharp and ready to take on the challenge of wearing down the Spaniard at the other end of the court, and did so for the first three games of the match before double faulting on break point down to give his opponent the lead. From there Ferrer closed out the first set 6-2.
Ferrer well and truly broke Nishikori’s spirit early on in the second set after breaking him to lead 2-0. The young Japanese player looked tired and heavy on court and not willing to bring the fight to the dogged Spaniard. Ferrer raced to a two sets to one lead, allowing Nishikori to hold just once on his way to the 6-1 set
The third set proved a more grueling encounter as Ferrer broke early and looked to be steamrolling to victory. Nishikori however had a burst of energy and set himself up with three break point opportunities on Ferrer’s next service game, the Spaniard saving the first two but succumbing on the third after sending a backhand beyond the baseline, leveling the set at 1-1.
Ferrer then broke Nishikori again in the next game and consolidated with a service hold to lead 3-1. Nishikori managed to level again at 3-3 and then held serve for a 4-3 lead. His burst of energy and aggression didn’t last however as Ferrer held easy for 4-4 then got a break in a long ninth game before serving out the match to love for a 6-2 6-1 6-4 win.
Ferrer was asked if he thinks he can step up and win a Grand Slam.
“I don’t know. Now I want to be focus with my next match. Is very difficult for to win a Grand Slam because there are the top four. In this moment, the last three or four years, they are better than the other players. But, you know, I am not thinking about if I have the chance to win a Grand Slam. I am only focus with every match I will play.”
When asked about his feelings on becoming the new No. 4 after the tournament ends Ferrer said he does not believe he belongs there as the top four are too good.
“I am top four because Rafael is injured a long time. Is the true.”
“It’s my opinion. But I am trying to do my best every match. I am trying to win every match anyway, top four, top 10, or top hundred. You know, the results, it was there, no? I’m not making something up.”
Ferrer will play Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals and goes into the match with a spotless head-to-head record against his compatriot, winning on all 12 occasions the two have played.