Modest Ferrer repeats Auckland success
When the bulldozers rip through two of the old stands at the ASB Tennis Arena in a couple of years' time and they rebuild two more, one should be called the David Ferrer Stand.
The Spaniard cemented his legacy at the Heineken Open in Auckland yesterday when he beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 6-1 in what turned out to be a disappointingly one-sided final.
Ferrer's victory means he has equalled the legendary Roy Emerson in two ways. They are both the only players to win this tournament on four occasions and also the only players to be victorious three times in a row.
Emerson sent Ferrer an email to wish him good luck before yesterday's final, but Ferrer shied away from any direct comparison with the 12-time Grand Slam winner.
"Me? No I don't think I am a legend," said Ferrer.
"Roy Emerson, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djojovic they are legends but not me. I need to win more important tournaments like a Grand Slam.
"I'm very happy with my career and I'm important in my home." Ferrer won't get to keep the trophy despite his hat-trick of titles but his loyalty to the Heineken Open can't be understated. His continued presence has ensured the tournament of a guaranteed world class player annually. And as long as he keeps coming back the ‘Sold Out' signs will keep on going up on the stadium gates.
During a teasing first set, the final showed all the signs of developing into a thriller.
Kohlschreiber breaking at 4-4 gave the German the chance to serve for the set, but a mistimed forehand and then a backhand that hit the net allowed Ferrer crucial points to square the set up again.
In the tiebreak Kohlschreiber again played a few loose shots, allowing the Spaniard to take it 7-5.
The fight had gone from Kohlschreiber as the second set began in baking Auckland heat. Ferrer could smell the victory, consistently breaking his opponent with ease, as he steam-rolled home right as a cooling breeze arrived.
Kohlschreiber framed a forehand high into the sky on championship point and Ferrer had his arms aloft even before the ball landed.
"The first set was the key," said Ferrer of the match.
"He deserved to win but he didn't take his chance. In the second set I can play more quiet and be better with my game. I try to fight every point. I played with great power. In the important moments I was there, in the tie breaker I played better than him."
Kohlschreiber's take on the proceedings also featured the opening set. He felt that while he could live with Ferrer during that set, it was a lost cause once his opponent took it.
"I was serving for the set, but in this moment he gained a lot of power," Kohlschreiber said.
"I played really well and he was struggling with his game, but after he won the first set he missed nothing.
"He returned everything and I dropped my level. Obviously it's tough to play against him because you have to play every ball on the limit. The second set was a good example that he was too good all over the place and I missed too much."
Ferrer flew out off to Melbourne just a few hours after lifting the trophy.
There is little time to reflect in the world of professional tennis and already he is preparing for his first round match against Olivier Rochus at the Australian Open tomorrow on Hisense Arena.
He will be the fourth seed because of Nadal's absence and while he still remains a long shot, this will probably be the best chance he'll ever get to win a Grand Slam.
"He did pretty good in previous years,' Kohlschreiber said of Ferrer's chances.
"It is tough to say who is going to win the Aussie Open, there are many good players there, but for sure, he has a very good shot at reaching the final and maybe more."
Sunday Star Times