For his 17th battle against Roger Federer, David Ferrer would have liked to claim his first win. And he came very, very close.
But in the end, the maestro overpowered his tough opponent in three sets (4-6, 6-4, 6-2) in a match that he himself would probably not qualify as remarkable. Broken twice in the first two sets, the 19-time Grand Slam champion didn’t exactly deliver a stellar performance. His serves and backhands failed more than once and he was forced to make important points in the most critical moments for his spot in the quarterfinals.
It must be said that Ferrer chose a strategy that paid off: constantly hitting to Federer’s backhand, which was more erratic than usual. But the magician found his touch in the last set and reassured his fans.
The win was Federer’s 34th in 36 matches this season.
On Friday, he will face another fantastic returner in Roberto Bautista Agut (12) of Spain. He saved a match point against world no.22 Gaël Monfils to earn a three-set win 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2)). The suspenseful battle, which went on for nearly three hours, kept fans at the edge of their seats until the very end.
In the day’s other matches, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina proved that he has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. After a catastrophic first set, the world no.36 ousted 20-year-old Jared Donaldson of the US in three sets (0-6, 7-5, 7-5). In the first, Schwartzman scored only one point on his first serve and none on his opponent’s. Luckily, he found his game just in time.
There was also as surprise in store on Thursday afternoon: it took Robin Haase of the Netherlands three sets to send Grigor Dimitrov packing (7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1). Haase and Schwartzman will face off in their unexpected quarterfinal showdown.