I realize it’s been a while since I’ve written anything and it’s almost strange considering how much has happened in the past few months. But we’ve all read a million stories about Rafael Nadal’s triumph at the US Open and Roger Federer surpassing Pete Sampras’s title record, along with all of the Andy Murray hype and disappointment and hype again. But there is one player who’s been almost completely overlooked throughout most of this year despite the fact that he’s very likely to be in the World Tour Finals in just a few weeks.
That’s right, I’m talking about David Ferrer. The over-achieving Spaniard just won his second title of the year and ninth overall in Valencia. I’m sure some people will look at this and say “who cares, there was no one in Valencia that was important.” While the field wasn’t ripe with the top tier (although Ferrer did beat Robin Soderling in the semifinals), it was particularly important for Ferrer if he wants to improve his chances of qualifying for London, and he did just that.
Besides Valencia, Ferrer has had a good year all around. Particularly during the clay court season where he reach the semifinals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid as well as the finals of Rome. Unfortunately he was shockingly blitzed by a resurgent Jurgen Melzer in the third round of Roland Garros. But those results coupled with some occasional good showings at several hard court events have placed Ferrer at number seven in the world, re-entering the top 10 for the first time since late 2008.
As far as 2010 is concerned, Ferrer will probably be most remembered for his epic loss to compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round of the US Open. Ferrer didn’t so much blow his lead as Verdasco just stole the match at the last second, but it’s hard to find a positive spin on losing a two sets to love lead. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant match from both ends that Ferrer was just unlucky to lose (remember the amazing match point).
Ferrer has no points to defend in the upcoming Masters in Paris and, given his good form, could pick up substantial points to help him cement his qualification for London. Ferrer has only reach the year ending championships on one other occasion, back in 2007 when he lost to Federer in the finals. Most impressive is his record there is 4-1, going undefeated in round robin play despite having both Nadal and Novak Djokovic in his group.
Ferrer is easily on the older side of the tennis spectrum but he’s playing some of his best tennis after several rough patches in the last few years. And while he will be the heavy underdog in London, he shouldn’t be underestimated. Nadal is in question, Murray has lost to Ferrer twice this year, Djokovic has other things on his mind, all of these factors could really boost Ferrer’s chances of landing the biggest title of his career.
Ferrer is known for his never-say-die attitude much like his compatriot and world number one, Nadal, which is a big part of why Ferrer is so overlooked. But when looking outside of the players who win 2-3 slams every year on a consistent basis, Ferrer is quite a marvel. Indian Wells was Ivan Ljubicic’s just desserts for years of great play and hard work. Hopefully Ferrer will have his own just desserts in the upcoming months, whether it be as soon as Paris and London, or sometime in 2011.
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