By Chris Oddo / Saturday, November 2, 2013
David Ferrer stunned Rafael Nadal in Paris, snapping a nine-match losing streak to the World No. 1 to reach the Paris Masters final.
Photo Source: AP
Three of their last five tilts had gone the distance, so it was no secret that David Ferrer had been playing Rafael Nadal tough over the last year and a half, but the fact that Nadal had won nine straight and 16 out of 17 against his compatriot was proof that Nadal knows how to get the best of Ferrer when it matters most.
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Not on Saturday.
Ferrer played a fantastic match from start to finish to defeat Nadal in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.
The victory improves Ferrer's record against Nadal on hard courts to an impressive 4-3 and propels the 31-year-old Spaniard to his 60th win of the season and his sixth career Masters final. It was Ferrer's fifth victory in 20 career matches against Nadal.
"I'm very happy. I'm in the final again in Paris Bercy," said Ferrer, who is the defending champion in Paris. "It was a very good match for me. I played maybe my best match this season. I was very aggressive with my forehand and with my shots."
Ferrer defeated Jerzy Janowicz to win his first Masters 1000 title in Paris last year. On Sunday he will try to win back-to-back titles when he faces Novak Djokovic in the final.
"Paris is very special for me,” Ferrer said. “I made my first final of a Grand Slam in Roland Garros; last year I won my first Masters 1000 title; now I'm in the final again in Paris."
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Ferrer came out with an aggressive game plan, and took an early lead when he broke a net-rushing Nadal with a beautiful, curling backhand passing shot that Nadal ended up dumping into the net after picking it off his shoetops.
Ferrer would threaten to go up a double-break but Nadal fought back from 0-40 in the eighth game to stay within striking distance.
But Ferrer, who saved six of seven break points on the afternoon, would hold serve and close out the set.
In the second set, it was more of the same. Ferrer's remarkable defense would lead to a Nadal error and a service break for a 2-1 lead, as the world No. 1 curled a down-the-line forehand wide in an attempt to crush a winner off the indefatigable Ferrer.
That break wouldn't be enough to get rid of Nadal, however. Nadal would break back for five-all, but a crucial miss on an easy forehand volley opened the door for Ferrer to break back and take a second crack at serving at the match.
He would not falter on his second opportunity, cracking a forehand winner down the line at 40-15 to close the doors on Nadal, and having a very subdued celebration when it was all said and done.
Nadal will face Ferrer again on Tuesday in the first round-robin match for each player at the World Tour Finals in London.