Sunday, January 16, 2011

David Ferrer is guilty of many things. Outrageous talent, superb fitness combined with a healthy smattering of consistency. And now, it seems, greed.

Hasn’t he ever heard of sharing?

Not content to deny Argentinean David Nalbandian any hope of gaining a set in today’s Heineken Open final, he went even further and only afforded Nalbandian the opportunity to win five games in his 6-3, 6-2 stroll to victory on a hot summer’s day in the city of sails.

What had initially appeared to be a classic in the making instead turned out to be a one-sided affair dominated by the twenty-eight year old world number seven. It wasn’t always the case, though, as the two antagonists spent the first seven games exchanging blows. Nothing was left out. Use of all available angles to open the court up so as to execute a legion of winners. And the winners came thick and fast as, first, Nalbandian would smash a crosscourt forehand winner.

Far be it for Ferrer to be outdone, though, as Ferrer would take his turn to stun a captive audience with a backhand passing shot down the line. They sparred, they poked, they prodded. A punch here, a counter-punch there. World class tennis of the top tier, it most definitely was.

It was a tremendous exhibition while it lasted. Problem was, once Ferrer broke Nalbandian in the eight game to go 5-3 ahead, it turned into a Spanish inquisition. Ferrer grilled his Argentinean foe with a relentlessness that Nalbandian found too hot for his liking.

Gone from the Argentine’s game was its original fluency. His timing soon disappeared south, and the frustration was showing as he took his ire out on his racquet. It was to be the first of two that he deliberately broke. Obviously Nalbandian is yet to feel the effects of the recession. Lucky for some.

Despite winning the first set 6-3, and contributing mightily to a splendid contest early on, there was always a suspicion that Ferrer had plenty more to give. And he did. Not just another gear, but several of them. The better he played, the more pressure he exerted, the worse his rival appeared to get.

Even though Nalbandian managed to hold ferrer to 2-2 during the opening of the second set, hostile emotions were gathering within. He simply could not break down his opponent who chased every shot regardless of how improbable it may have seemed.

Something had to give. And it was Nalbandian who cracked in the fifth game of the second set as Ferrer easily dismantled the former world number three’s serve.
This was Ferrer’s cue to go on a points scoring rampage and abandon any thoughts of conservative play in favour of indulging himself in a veritable feast of extravagant shot making that was his equivalent of an all day buffet.

Ferrer quickly snacked on the last three games as he raced through them in record time to claim his second title in Auckland.

Nalbandian, for his part, will have been grateful when the nightmare was over. Not one of his finest performances, it must be said. However, it was clear from his efforts during the first half of the opening set that he is potentially the better player of the two. Currently ranked twenty-seven in the world rankings, and having missed the majority of 2010 with injury, with more match play there is no doubt that he will soon climb his way back into the top ten.

Today, though, was Ferrer’s day to bask in the glory of an eleventh career title. He didn’t always do things the easy way in the earlier rounds with two of his matches going to three sets and lasting well over two hours in duration.

But, then, acclaim goes to those that work hardest. And Ferrer's work ethic is second to none.

No comments: