Ferrer eyes rain on Murray parade
Last Spaniard in the Wimbledon draw faces local hope for place in semifinals
The rain it raineth every day, as is Wimbledon’s wont, and only one Spanish player remains in contention for the title on 12th night in SW19. Fourth seed Andy Murray wasted little time in finishing off Marin Cilic on the uncovered Court 1 on Tuesday to book his place in the quarterfinals before the London skies opened anew and halted play. David Ferrer, who in defeating Juan Martín del Potro in straight sets on Centre Court has already made his Wimbledon showing to date, will be on the other side of the net.
Tuesday’s match was expected to be conditioned by the Argentinean’s thunderous groundstrokes and Ferrer’s scampering powers of retrieval. But the world number five, seeded seven by the All England Club, made Del Potro do most of the running in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory that featured just eight unforced errors from the Valencian. Del Potro slipped and seemed to turn his ankle in the first set, but Ferrer had previously identified the world number nine’s limited mobility as his best form of attack. Ferrer pulled the extensive limbs of his opponent into the net more than is comfortable for a baseline slugger, showing a deft touch himself in winning 17 of 19 points at the cord, and sprayed the lines from the back of the court.
Ferrer has hoovered up four titles already this season, the most recent at ’s-Hertogenbosch last month, and Murray is under no illusions that his opponent conforms to the stereotype of a Spanish dust-hugger. “To me he’s not a clay-court specialist,” said the Scot. “He won last week on grass, so he’s won eight matches in a row on the grass. He’s been in the semifinals of Australia, I think the US Open as well, and now he’s starting to play better on grass.”
Ferrer has dropped just one set, to Andy Roddick, in reaching this stage to Murray’s two, against Marcos Baghdatis and Ivo Karlovic, suggesting that a heavy serve can bother both players. Ferrer, whose training regime is more foreign legion than ATP Tour, has been tweaking that element of his game for the grass season. “I’ve trained more and concentrated more on getting a good percentage of first serves in [...] which is very important on grass,” the Spaniard said.
Ferrer and Murray have met on 10 occasions, sharing the spoils equally on clay and hard courts, the surface where all of Murray’s victories have come. The most recent clash was at Roland Garros, where Ferrer triumphed 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
After a rain-delayed match on Court 1 for the local hope, the contest is likely to be scheduled on Centre Court, which will suit Ferrer: “At Wimbledon, there is a lot of wind. With the roof, it is easier to play. The ball does not move so much and it is easier to defend. I always try to win, ever since I was 12. Against Murray I will concentrate on playing every point and try to play my best.”