David Ferrer has stated time and time again that the key to his success is his constant fight, and once again he proved that to be true when he wore down fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6(4) 6-2 to reach the Australian Open 2013 semifinals.
In an exhausting three hour and 44 minute contest under a bright sun, Ferrer broke Almagro three times when his Davis Cup teammate served for the match, and continued his remarkable record against the world No. 11, running his head-to-head edge over the man from Murcia to 13-0.
In his on-court interview, he called the win a miracle.
“I try to fight every point, every game,” Ferrer said.
“I know all the players, in important moments, we are nervous. I know that. Today I was close to lost, sure. But finally I come back, no?”
Almagro came out flying, powering his under-rated first serve to the corners, striking his hard one-handed backhand beautifully and consistently moving inside the court, forcing Ferrer onto his heels.
He looked just as good in the second set, for much as Ferrer tried to string him out in rallies, Almagro handily took care of every short ball.
But serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set, the less experienced player lost control.
He fought off two break points with an ace and forehand volley, but he was unable to gain a match point. The fourth-seeded Ferrer finally broke him with an inside-out forehand winner.
Ferrer then held and easily ran out the set.
But Almagro didn't fold, and gave himself another opportunity in the fourth set when he served for the match at 5-4, but once again he couldn't earn a match point. He did manage to fight off two break points, but was broken when he plunked a backhand into the net.
Once again Almagro would break Ferrer to edge ahead 6-5, but he was broken to 6-6 when he flew a forehand way long. After that, the momentum swung entirely in Ferrer’s favor.
Former Australian semifinalist Ferrer snagged the tiebreaker 7-4 when he forced his foe into a forehand error, and then while Almagro dealt with an adductor issue and appeared to lose speed, Ferrer raced away with the fifth set and ended the contest with a brilliant forehand pass.
Almagro claimed that he began to feel pain in his adductor in the first set.
“I think I tried to play my best tennis today,” Almagro said.
“I say few days ago with my last press conference I will try to play aggressive, I will try to play my best tennis, and I think I did today. Is not enough to beat David. But we'll see what happen in the future.
“I don't want think that it's a mentality problem. If I have mentality problem, I think I didn't win the first two sets.”
Ferrer will play the winner of Tuesday night’s match between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Czech Tomas Berdych. Djokovic is coming off a five-hour plus win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round.
“Novak, I think now he's recovery, sure, because his physic is unbelievable,” Ferrer said.
“He's the best, I think. You know, every day is different: the weather, the conditions.”
Ferrer then added with a smile: “I don't know what is going to be tonight with Tomas Berdych, but I hope it will be a long match.”