SEVILLE, SPAIN: David Ferrer outlasted Juan Martin del Potro 62 67(2) 36 64 63 in a classic five setter to give Spain a 2-0 lead on day one of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Seville.
After Rafael Nadal had eased past Juan Monaco 61 61 62 in the day's opening rubber, the pressure was firmly on the shoulders of del Potro and it showed in the early exchanges. Ferrer settled quicker and took the first set.
The big serving Argentine started to find some form in the second set, snatching it on a tiebreak, and despite going a break down early in third he roared back to win five games in a row to edge in front.
But Ferrer never knows when he's beaten and just wouldn't go away. The longer the match went on the stronger the Spaniard got. He eventually proved too solid for del Potro after a titanic 4 hours 46 minutes on court.
The result leaves Spain firmly in the driving seat with just one more win required to claim their fifth Davis Cup title. The doubles duo of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco will have the first chance to get that win when they take on David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank on Saturday.
As it happened...
SPAIN WINS 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 6-3
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 6-3 Del Potro
A Ferrer drop shot at 30-15 brings Delpo into the net and the Spaniard whips a backhand pass for a winner, setting up two match points. Ferrer nails yet another forehand to clinch victory on his first opportunity. That match was an absolute classic. Delpo looks distraught but he gave everything. As for Ferrer, what a fighter he is... never knows when he's beaten!
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 5-3 Del Potro
Big hitting from Delpo. Understandably, he's not moving quite as well as he was doing at the start of the match, but any fatigue he might be feeling certainly isn't influencing the way he strikes the ball. A gutsy hold means that Ferrer will now need to serve for the match... again!
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 5-2 *Del Potro
Or is it... maybe I spoke too soon. Delpo gets one break back. He won two fantastic points at the net to go 30-15 ahead and then a wayward forehand from Ferrer brought up two break points. The first one slipped by, but the Spaniard sent a backhand long on Delpo's second opportunity. Argentine hopes are still alive.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 5-1 Del Potro
I hate to break it to any Argentine fans out there, but the end is nigh. Ferrer chased down a ball that he had no right to get at 15-30 and then a Delpo error means that the Spaniard will serve to put the hosts 2-0 up.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 4-1 *Del Potro
It's a joke how well Ferrer is playing at the moment. He's on fire. Delpo was left clapping his opponent in that game after another string of winners from the back of the court. I hope the Argentine has got something left in the tank otherwise this match will be over very soon.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 3-1 Del Potro
What a point! Delpo serves at 40-30 and after a truly epic rally, which at one stage the crowd thought was over when a shot landed close to the line, Ferrer strikes an inside out forehand winner. Follow that with a winning return off a first serve, and then another inside out forehand that left Delpo helpless. Rafa is standing on his chair courtside. Amazing scenes in Seville. The Olympic Stadium is rocking!
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 2-1 *Del Potro
Ferrer pulled and pushed his opponent all over the court in that game. Delpo must have had enough by the end of it because at 40-15 he unloaded a forehand return down the line. It was definitely one of those shots that, one way or another, wasn't meant to come back. Well it certainly didn't come back, but it also landed an inch long. Game Ferrer.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 1-1 Del Potro
Great game from Delpo. He replies with a hold to love of his own. Majestic backhand drop shot at 40-0. It's not very often that Ferrer doesn't bother chasing a ball down. Is that a sign of how tired he is feeling right now or the quality of the drop shot... or more likely a bit of both!
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 1-0 *Del Potro
Ferrer holds to love to immediately put the pressure on his opponent. At the moment the Spaniard looks more likely to go on and win, but this match has been so up and down that just a few points either way could swing the momentum in someone's favour.
FOURTH SET SPAIN 6-4
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 6-4 0-0 Del Potro
We're heading for a decider! A netted forehand at 15-30 from Delpo brings up two set points for Ferrer. The Argentine saves the first with an ace, but he double faults on the second. What a gift for the Spaniard. Massive set coming up now. Realistically, it's a must-win for Argentina.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 5-4 *Del Potro
Ferrer gets the pump out - i.e. his fist - when Delpo frames a forehand high and wide on game point at 40-30. This is turning into a titanic battle. Both players are leaving absolutely everything on the court. Got to love Davis Cup...!
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 4-4 Del Potro
A long break in play at 30-30 as both captains approach umpire Carlos Ramos. Not sure what that was about? It doesn't seem to do Delpo much good as he promptly dumps a backhand in the net. A marathon rally on break point goes the way of the Argentine, and he capitalises with an ace to bring up a game point of his own. Ferrer nets a forehand and we're level again.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 4-3 *Del Potro
A rare serve-volley from Ferrer works perfectly at 15-30 as he sends Delpo wide and ghosts into the net to punch the ball into the open court. A long rally on the next point ends with an error from the Argentine, and another Delpo mistake hands Ferrer the game. Good hold for the Spaniard.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 3-3 Del Potro
Delpo holds to love in what seems like two seconds flat. Ferrer pushed a second serve return wide at 40-0. We're back to all square. I think now would be a good time to remind you that you can also listen to all the action on Davis Cup Radio... Craig Gabriel and Eli Weinstein are currently commentating.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 3-2 *Del Potro
It's only really a break if you can hold your next service game, as many a coach has told a pupil over the years. Well that was certainly the case for Ferrer. He dumps his serve to put Delpo right back in the set. The atmosphere is electric now playing under lights inside the Olympic Stadium.,
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 3-1 Del Potro
The Spanish crowd really came alive in that game. Not that they weren't being loud already, but that was deafening. Ferrer went up 0-30 before Delpo pegged him back to 30-30. A wayward backhand from the Argentine and then a very untimely double fault, his fourth of the match, hands Ferrer a break of serve.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 2-1 *Del Potro
Delpo orchestrates the Argentine fans after Ferrer misses an easy volley at 30-30, but he can't capitalise on the ensuing break point. Ferrer saves it by coming into the net and executing a drop volley. He follows this up with his second ace of the match and then Delpo sends a backhand into the trams.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 1-1 Del Potro
Delpo replies with a comfortable hold of his own. He's really started to use the drop shot effectively, which is a difficult task against someone as fast around the court as Ferrer. In that game he drew his opponent into the net and then passed him down the line to go up 40-0, before firing down his eighth ace of the match.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 1-0 *Del Potro
Nice hold from Ferrer to get him off the mark. Great hands at 40-15 when he approached the net and a Delpo pass clipped the netcord on the way over. Ferrer quickly readjusted himself and guided a volley into the open court.
THIRD SET ARGENTINA 6-3
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-6 0-0 Del Potro
More of the same from the big Argentine. From 15-15, he struck a forehand winner, then an ace and then another forehand winner to take the third set. It's difficult to explain how well Delpo just played after trailing 3-1 against a player ranked No. 5 in the world.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-5 *Del Potro
Huge hitting from Delpo, nailing a backhand winner at 30-30 to bring up a break point. He can't take it, but an even bigger forehand winner at deuce gives him a second chance. This time he converts with an inside out forehand which angles away past the wrong footed Ferrer. High quality tennis. Delpo will now serve for a two-sets-to-one lead.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-4 Del Potro
We've just witnessed another big momentum swing. Delpo was looking tired 10 mins ago but that last break of serve has given him some extra spring in his step, and now it's Ferrer who looks little jaded. I'm sure that will pass, though. Comfortable hold for Delpo in that game.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-3 *Del Potro
Ferrer has two opportunities to hold from 15-40, although they were never really chances as Delpo rolled down a pair of breathtaking forehands. Add to those a backhand winner at deuce and the Argentine suddenly finds himself at break point out of nowhere. He winds up on another forehand that hammers against the netcord and drops agonisingly on Ferrer's side. Fortune favours the brave, as they say. Gutsy play from Delpo.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 3-2 Del Potro
Ferrer has the Spanish fans in raptures when he wins a long point at 15-15 by drawing Delpo into the net and nonchalantly flicking a backhand lob over his head. No mean feat against an opponent who stands at 6' 6" tall. But the Argentine regroups and wins the next three points to hold.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 3-1 *Del Potro
Signs of fatigue from Delpo. Can't really blame him when playing against Ferrer... the man is a machine! Delpo had another break point in that game, his third of the set so far, but he pushed a forehand return wide at 30-40. Typically, Ferrer made him pay by winning the next two points.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 2-1 Del Potro
Delpo gets off the mark in this third set with a hold to love. Huge second serve ace down the middle at 40-0. That was his sixth ace of the match, compared to Ferrer's sole effort.
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 2-0 *Del Potro
Ferrer is sooo fast around the court, but even he wasn't quick enough at 30-30 to retrieve Delpo's laser approach. A perfectly placed forehand on the next point brought him back to deuce, then a similarly well hit forehand from Delpo gave the Argentine a second break point. Not taken again. Ferrer digs deep to take three points in a row and hold.
Ferrer* 6-2 6-7(2) 1-0 Del Potro
Just when you think Ferrer might be vulnerbale, he bounces straight back and breaks in the opening game. Delpo saved a break point at 15-40, but he couldn't stave off the second as the Spaniard takes the early advantage.
SECOND SET ARGENTINA 7-6(2)
Ferrer 6-2 6-7(2) 0-0 *Del Potro
Perfect start for Delpo with a mini-break on the first point. He then benefits from two Carlos Ramos overrules in his favour to take a 3-0 lead. Ferrer isn't happy, but he regroups and a couple of forehand errors from Delpo, and one winner, leave the score at 4-2 at the turn. A big serve from the Argentine and an uncharacteristic double fault from Ferrer, his first of the match, bring up four set points. Delpo only needs one of them when a backhand approach doesn't come back. That set took 77 mins. Great stuff. Game on now!
Ferrer* 6-2 6-6 Del Potro
We're heading for a breaker after another easy hold to love for Delpo. He obviously learnt from his mistake a few mins ago as he came to the net twice in that game, both times finishing off the point with a winning volley.
Ferrer 6-2 6-5 *Del Potro
Oh dear, big chance missed by Delpo on break point at 30-40. He was completely on top of the rally and repeatedly declined the opportunity to come to the net and finish it off. Ferrer eventually scraped back a deep one and Delpo netted a forehand. He could be made to pay for that. Ferrer won the next two points and now the Argentine is serving to stay in the set... again.
Ferrer* 6-2 5-5 Del Potro
Exactly what Delpo needed, a routine hold to love. The next 10 mins could be crucial to the final destination of the Davis Cup trophy. I may be jumping the gun, but it's a long way back for Delpo if he goes two sets down and it's an either longer way back for Argentina if they go 2-0 down on day one. Mountains and climbing spring to mind.
Ferrer 6-2 5-4 *Del Potro
Signs of frustration creeping in from Delpo when he was on the wrong end of a tight line call. The Spanish band that immediately piped up didn't help his mood either... timing is everything! Ferrer eventually holds after the Argentine sprays a forehand wide. The Spanish bench are on their feet, sensing an opportunity for their man.
Ferrer* 6-2 4-4 Del Potro
Delpo bravely fights back to deuce from 15-40, but Ferrer is so solid and the Argentine tries to force the issue. Two unforced errors on the forehand wing from Delpo provide Ferrer with the break and once again the momentum has swung. Dangerous time for the Argentine right now. He needs to steady the ship.
Ferrer 6-2 3-4 *Del Potro
This time Ferrer has more luck when Carlos Ramos rules in his favour after the line judge originally called a backhand from Delpo on the line. That put Ferrer 40-0 ahead and he holds on the next point when his opponent pushes a dropshot into the trams.
Ferrer* 6-2 2-4 Del Potro
The momentum of this match has completely changed in the last five mins. That was a routine hold for Delpo, sealed with a big ace down the middle at 40-15. Ferrer questioned the line call, but umpire Carlos Ramos kept with the original decision.
Ferrer 6-2 2-3 *Del Potro
The big man finally gets going and breaks to love. For the first time Delpo shows some emotion with a fistpump when a wayward Ferrer forehand sails long at 0-40. Cue some crazy singing and dancing from the Argentine fans. Which is the home team here?
Ferrer* 6-2 2-2 Del Potro
Solid hold from Delpo. Great judgment on gamepoint at 40-15. He could have taken on a forehand drive volley but he decided to let the floating slice from Ferrer sail past him and landed an inch long.
Ferrer 6-2 2-1 *Del Potro
The Spaniard races 40-0 up, but two winning backhand drives get Delpo back within striking distance. Then a miserable forehand from Delpo dribbles into the bottom of the net on Ferrer's third game point. Great atmosphere btw.
Ferrer* 6-2 1-1 Del Potro
Nalbandian is back on the Argentine bench cheering on his teammate (he was hitting on the practice court) and it seems to do Delpo some good. The big man twice makes use of very well exceuted dropshots on his way to holding serve. Rafa is also back courtside sitting next to Uncle Toni.
Ferrer 6-2 1-0 *Del Potro
Big chance for Delpo in that game. He took a 0-30 lead and then saw a forehand approach whacked straight back past him for a winner. Three points later Ferrer changes ends after a very important hold of serve.
FIRST SET SPAIN 6-2
Ferrer* 6-2 0-0 Del Potro
Ferrer breaks to love to take the first set in 43 mins. Delpo dragged a short backhand into the trams at 0-40. Ferrer looks so focussed and you just know that his level won't drop. It never does! Delpo has got it all to do.
Ferrer 5-2 *Del Potro
Delpo sends the Argentine fans crazy as he opens up a 15-30 lead. Ferrer responds with a pair of forehand winners, then Delpo makes it deuce with one of his own. A long game ensues - five deuces in total - and Ferrer finally holds when the Argentine nets a rallying backhand. Big chance for Delpo in that game. He let two break points slip by.
Ferrer* 4-2 Del Potro
Bang. Ace from Delpo on the first point. Ferrer levels with a forehand winner, only to see the big serving Argentine nail another ace down the middle, his third of the match so far. Wow, Ferrer is human. Two errors from the baseline hand Delpo a comfortable hold.
Ferrer 4-1 *Del Potro
Life's good for Ferrer. This game follows the same pattern as those before it. The Spaniard goes 40-0 up before Delpo claws a couple of points back. Ferrer plays a great point at 40-30, working Delpo out of the court before delivering a telling forehand blow down the line. Impressive from the world No. 5.
Ferrer* 3-1 Del Potro
First blood to the Spaniard. Delpo starts with a double fault, just as he did in the last game, and then a rare forehand error and winning backhand pass from Ferrer sees the Argentine staring at 0-40. First break point saved win an ace, but Ferrer forces the issue at 15-40 and finally Delpo sends a high lob too long.
Ferrer 2-1 *Del Potro
The Spaniard takes a 40-0 lead again on his serve. Delpo gets one point back with another series of massive forehand blows. At 40-15, Ferrer fires a big serve down the middle and Delpo nets the return. Remember you can listen to live radio commentary of this match... Craig Gabriel and Eli Weinstein currently on air.
Ferrer* 1-1 Del Potro
Delpo opens with a double fault. Not what the doctor ordered. But he follows up with a winning forehand pass as his opponent approaches the net. That forehand is deadly. Ferrer will need to hammer Delpo's backhand if he is to prevail today. Two more winners help the Argentine over the line. All square.
Ferrer 1-0 *Del Potro
Long wait to get going as the crowd are simply going crazy. Spanish captain Albert Costa already pleading with umpire Carlos Ramos for quiet, to no avail. Finally we start and Ferrer settles any early nerves by racing into a 40-0 lead. But back comes to Delpo, a rocket forehand winner down the line to get back to 40-30. A backhand dropshot seals the opening game for Ferrer.
The lights are on and we're almost ready to get going. These two players have such contrasting styles. The big serving Argentine is so smooth and loves to come forward and attack. The Spaniard will be more than happy to scurry around the baseline and grind his opponent down. Interesting. Ferrer to serve first... and we're off!
There is a shiver running down my spine... what a match we have in store! The players walk out to deafening cheers. Delpo first and then home favourite Ferrer, who is accompanied by the Rocky theme tune. How apt. Ferrer is a true street fighter on the tennis court. I've got a feeling we're in for a classic tussle. Players now warming up.
David Ferrer (ESP) - 02/12/2011
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) - 02/12/2011