Photo: Paul ZimmerDavid Ferrer (ESP)
David Ferrer emerged victorious from his gruelling four-and-a-half-hour-long match against Janko Tipsarevic to advance to the semifinals of this year’s US Open. Ferrer, known for his never-say-die attitude, came from two sets to one down to win in a fifth set tiebreak 63 67(5) 26 63 76(4).
The first set was strewn with errors, with Ferrer’s forehand starting slowly as Tipsarevic took an early break of serve before the Serb’s own serve let him down, allowing Ferrer back into the set. Ferrer took the opportunity and won the next six games, taking the first set 6-3.
Tipsarevic changed his tactics in the second set and played at the net more often. It was paying off on his own serve as he won games but he was unable to break the Spaniard’s serve as the set moved into a tiebreak. Tipsarevic was finding the lines, however, and took the tiebreak 7-5 to level the match up at one set all.
Tipsarevic continued to hit the ball beautifully in the third set and broke Ferrer’s serve twice to take the set 6-2. The Serb hit 18 winners in the third set alone and looked to be in control of the match, but Ferrer fought back again.
With Tipsarevic serving at 3-4 in the fourth set, Ferrer used his speed and resilience to reach some shots that seemed impossible to reach and he broke the eighth seed’s serve to move 5-3 up before serving the set out.
That sent the match into a deciding fifth set, and Tipsarevic started much the better, gaining an early break and streaking into a 4-1 lead. But the match was starting to take its toll on the Serb, who had already had treatment before the start of the final set, and when he slipped in the sixth game, he seemed to lose some momentum.
Ferrer broke back and soon levelled the set up at 4-4 with Tipsarevic serving. The eighth seed was really starting to feel the effects of the match and he called for an injury time out during the ninth game while facing two break points. He rallied though and saved both break points before serving the game out. The set moved into a tiebreak and, unfortunately for the Serb, it was Ferrer who had more energy and won it 7-4 when Tipsarevic hit a shot into the net on match point.
Ferrer was quick to praise his opponent, “My opponent, he deserved also to win this match,” he said. “In one tiebreak it's a lottery and I was lucky in important moments. My respect to Janko Tipsarevic.” And Tipsarevic himself was not surprised by the events, “Both of us are baseline players, both of us are big fighters on court, so something like this was only expected.”
The other quarterfinal, while not as long, also produced tennis of the highest quality as Novak Djokovic, last year’s Champion, took on Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 Champion. The world No. 2 seemed to return everything that the big Argentinean threw at him and he advanced to the semifinals after a 62 76(3) 64 victory. “Even though it was a straight-sets win it was much closer than the score indicated,” the Serb announced afterwards.
This win means that Djokovic has still not dropped a set in the tournament so far and has been tipped by many to retain his title.
He was comfortably on top in the first set and he broke del Potro’s serve twice on his way to taking it 6-2, but del Potro fought back after that disappointment.
Djokovic is not often seen to be defending for an entire set but the power behind del Potro’s serves and his incredible forehand meant that Djokovic was forced to change his game plan for the second set, something he did to great effect. With del Potro serving at 5-6, Djokovic had three set points but could not convert any of them, and del Potro held serve to force the set into a tiebreak in a game that lasted 17 minutes. Del Potro won the first 2 points but Djokovic fought back and took the tiebreak 7-3.
The Argentinean lost his serve early in the third set and that was effectively game over as Djokovic never looked like losing his serve, which he didn’t, taking the third set 6-4 and clinching the match.
Elsewhere in the tournament, the first trophies of the tournament were handed out on Thursday night, to Bruno Soares and Ekaterina Makarova, who won the mixed doubles. The pair were not originally meant to be playing together, but when Soares found out that he would not qualify with his original partner, he had to find someone else. Soares’ coach was running around trying to find Makarova and ask if she wanted to play, and when she said yes Soares signed them up with seconds to spare. “At the very last minute, 11:59, I signed us in. I guess it worked out”. They beat fourth seeds Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski 67 61 [12-10].
Olympic gold medallists Bob and Mike Bryan will contest the final of the men’s doubles on Friday against Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek. The Bryans are going for their fourth US Open title and 12th Grand Slam. The American duo beat Aisam-Ul-Haq Quereshi and Jean-Julien Rojer 63 64 and Paes and Stepanek are progressed to the final when their opponents, Spanish pair Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez retired.
Sara Errani, who play’s in the women’s singles semifinal against Serena Williams on Friday, will also be playing doubles after she and Roberta Vinci, who she beat in the quarterfinals of the singles competition, made it through to their second Grand Slam final of the year where they will play Olympic silver medallists Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
Follow all the action on the official US Open website: USOpen.org