(February 24, 2013) -- David Ferrer battled through two topsy-turvy sets, then punched his game into cruise control to move past Stan Wawrinka in the Copa Claro final in Buenos Aires, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
The victory nets the 30-year-old Spaniard his 20th career title and moves him into a tie for third place on the ATP’s all-time clay-court titles list with ten.
After trading breaks with Wawrinka, who was seeking his fourth career title, Ferrer broke decisively in the seventh game of the first set to take the lead.
In the second set things started to look up for Wawrinka when Ferrer missed an overhead smash just wide to give Wawrinka the first break of the set, but the Spaniard, who broke six times on eleven chances on the afternoon, immediately broke back to love.
But Wawrinka, whose aggressive play and constant net forays kept Ferrer off balance for most of the day, struck back in the very next game when his rocket forehand went for a winner.
Wawrinka found himself in trouble while serving out the set at 5-3, but he erased double break point, then saved another break point after a double-fault to close the set out.
In the decider Wawrinka started brilliantly, smashing two consecutive down-the-line backhand winners to break Ferrer for a 1-0 lead, but things would turn ominous for the World No. 17 shortly thereafter.
Perhaps it was fatigue from battling through two hard sets on the red dirt against one of the most indomitable players on the tour. Maybe it was just tough luck. Whatever the case, Wawrinka wouldn’t win another game. Ferrer demolished his every second serve offering (winning eight of 8 points against it), and tightened things up on his serve enough to keep Wawrinka silent for the rest of the afternoon.
It was a flawless, stunning run of games for Ferrer, and it served notice to Wawrinka and anyone else who might have been watching, that one bad set will never be enough to render the Spaniard down and out on a clay court.
With his 243rd career clay-court win against 98 losses, Ferrer joins Richard Gasquet as one of the ATP tour’s only two multiple title winners for 2013. The Spaniard's record in clay-court finals now stands at 10-11, with six of those losses coming against Rafael Nadal.