By Jaclyn Stacey
(January 18, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – David Ferrer won through to a fourth round match-up with Japan’s Kei Nishikori after running down Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets 6-4 6-2 6-3 on Friday night at the Australian Open.
With the win, Ferrer will have enough points to overtake his countryman Rafael Nadal as the world No. 4 at the end of the tournament.
Ferrer has been in the best form of his career and won his fourth Auckland title coming into the Australian Open. He also finished 2012 with seven trophies, more than anyone else on the tour, and won his biggest career title at the Masters-1000 event in Paris.
The number four seed dominated the rallies in the match, moving his opponent all over the court and producing some spectacular winning groundstrokes from the back of the court.
The 2006 Australian Open finalist was no match for the Spaniard, preferring to try and let Ferrer make an unforced error rather than coming in and playing a more aggressive game. Baghdatis produced moments of brilliance, but it was not enough to sustain any lead against the defensive brilliance of Ferrer.
Ferrer lead early in the first set before Baghdatis was able to break back in the seventh game and hold to level at 4-4. Ferrer than held for 5-4 and managed to generate two set point opportunities with Baghdatis serving in the next game. Baghdatis saved the first with a spectacular backhand down the line but was unable to save the second, putting a forehand into the net and gifting the Spaniard the set 6-4.
The second set went the way of the Spaniard in 41 minutes, Ferrer continuing to wear Baghdatis down and dropping just two games on his way to the 6-2 set.
The world number five holds and then breaks Baghdatis immediately in the third set to lead 2-0. Baghdatis stays in it though, and following some errors from Ferrer’s racquet, gets the break back to put the set back on serve 2-1 to Ferrer. It’s a short lived success for Baghdatis, Ferrer regaining the break in the next game. From there the two held serve and Ferrer serves out the match with an ace.
“I played my best match this week because to beat Marcos I had to play my best tennis and I did.”
Ferrer spoke with Jim Courier on court about his stellar 2012 season and the difficulty in maintaining the form into this season.
“It’s difficult no? I am tired but I enjoy a lot playing this sport. Of course the last year was the best of my career and to redo it again this new season is very difficult no? I am trying to be focused every match and every game and what’s important is that I don’t get any important injury.”
When asked about his compatriot Nadal, Ferrer said he doesn’t feel any added pressure flying the flag as the number one Spaniard, preferring to focus on himself and tennis.
“I talked two weeks ago when he had a virus. But when I finish this tournament, of course I will talk with him. And I know good news because he’s going to be soon, no, in Chile and Brazil.”
Ferrer plays Kei Nishikori in the fourth round with the pair’s most recent meeting coming at the London Olympic Games where Nishikori triumphed in three sets.
“Well, it’s a very difficult match. I will have to play very good for to beat him. I will have to play similar like tonight: consistent, solid. It’s going to be a very physic match, no? Because he has a very good shots, very powered on all his shots. So I will be fast in my legs, no?”
Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.