In the first mild surprise of the ATP Finals, David Ferrer stayed hot upending Juan Martin Del Potro in their opening round robin match today 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Both players entered the match in form and on hot streaks. Ferrer just won his first career Masters title in Paris over the weekend, and the Spaniard was the winner of his last 10 matches.
Del Potro had won Vienna and then beat Roger Federer in the Basel final before flaming out early in Paris to prepare for London. So indoors and after a quick turnaround from Paris, I gave the slight edge to Ferrer in this one, but credit to David who kept pressing the big Argentine until he finally broke down in the end.
“It was a really tough match, was very close, we had very good rallies,” said Ferrer who has now won 11 straight matches. “I’m very happy with my game. Maybe this year, I am playing more aggressive with my shots. I am going to the net more to finish the points.”
After slugging his way to the second set, Del Potro was quickly down a break 3-0 in the third. But with almost nothing to lose Del Potro started unloading his groundstrokes and it paid off as he broke Ferrer break. But at 4-4 Ferrer regained control as Del Po backed off the assault, and then broke Del Potro at love to take the match.
“David is playing so well. He won two tournaments in a row and he’s playing with a lot of confidence,” Del Potro said. “David was better in the important moments, like at the end of the match. He broke my serve by playing really well. He never missed a return in the last game. So he took his chances in the match. I think that was the key.”
Earlier, Federer won his 11th straight at the Finals totally destroying Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-1. I thought the match would have been closer but it was a complete rout for the six-time Finals champion.
“I’m happy with my level of play today against Janko, who is obviously a good player,” Fedrer said. “I think it’s nice conditions here. I’ve had a good year. It’s true, I feel like I’m striking the ball well after today. I hope it’s a sign for more to come hopefully.”
Federer has now won 40 career matches at the event, a new record.
Tomorrow, in the first big showdown of the event local favorite Andy Murray locks up with Novak Djokovic in a rematch of their Australian Open and US Open epics. Based on play this fall I give a slight edge to Novak who has won nine of 16 career meetings.
Murray though had won the two straight before Djokovic saved a matchpoint in Shanghai last month. So the match is really a toss up, but I just think Novak is playing a little better right now than Andy.
In the late match Tomas Berdych takes on JW Tsonga with the loser surely out of the competition.
Tennis Channel kicks things off against at 7am.
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Nadal Cruises To 30th Straight Barcelona Win, Almagro Meets Raonic Thursday; Retirements Hit WTA Stuttgart