Euroka I know you have little interest in the Davis Cup but Ferru is the local boy this weekend in a stadium as big as the Chatrier or the Rod Laver Arena!
Ferrer upsets Djokovic!
Djokovic misfires as Ferrer fires the killer blow
The headlines have been made here by the day’s delay due to stadium damage, but this tie could well finish on time after Spain struck what should be a killer blow in the opening rubber.
The home nation’s No. 2 player David Ferrer beat Novak Djokovic 63 63 76(3) in the first rubber of the tie, a result which means that Serbia can now only win if Rafael Nadal loses at least one of his matches. And beating Nadal on clay, especially in Spain, counts as tennis’s equivalent of mission impossible, short of someone putting something nasty in his drinks bottles.
Djokovic mentally absent
While Ferrer played a very good match, the result had more to do with Djokovic being mentally absent from the very beginning. The world No. 3 looked sluggish in the opening couple of games, both of which he lost, but he lost this match by failing to capitalise on momentum swings he created but then couldn’t sustain. Had he converted one of the two set points he had at 6-5 in the third set, the outcome of the match, even the weekend, could have been very different, but somehow Djokovic never looked to be playing well enough to turn the tide.
The Serb should have led 4-2 in the first set, but allowed Ferrer to reel off four games on the run. He was on the brink of going 4-0 down in the second set, but twice broke back, only to lose his subsequent service game. And with Ferrer getting everything back on a court playing slow but fairly true, Djokovic was always the one to make the errors. He tried a good dozen drop shots, but seldom won the point and a few of them barely reached the net, such was his lack of touch on the day.
Third set fightback
At least the third set was competitive. Any thoughts the crowd might have had that Djokovic was not up for a fightback were dispelled when he made good a 1-3 deficit and then worked his way to set points in the 12th game. Ferrer saved them both, one with a patient rally that drove Djokovic to try a desperate forehand down the line, the other with an unreturnable serve.
When Djokovic led 2-1 with a minibreak in the tiebreak, a fourth set was still a distinct possibility, but Ferrer then won five points on the run, another of his sequences and the one that killed off the Serb’s last resistance. After Djokovic blasted a backhand long on the sixth point, he raised his arms in disbelief, a gesture that seemed to sum up his match.
Ferrer was magnanimous enough to recognise that his opponent’s errors had significantly helped his cause. “Maybe the key to the match was in Novak’s mistakes,” the local Valenciana boy said. “He made many mistakes in the important moments. He didn’t play so good, and I took my chance.”