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David Ferrer's fightback leaves Nicolas Almagro in denial

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 - 12:25pm IST Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2013 - 12:27pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
While Stosur readily admitted that her second-round defeat was 'a bit of a choke', Almagro was in total denial after serving for the match three times against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and failing even to reach match point.
  • Reuters

For the second time in this Australian Open, a top-10 seed has made a horrible mess of a winning position. But there was a clear contrast in the reactions of Sam Stosur last Wednesday and Nicolas Almagro on Tuesday.

While Stosur readily admitted that her second-round defeat was "a bit of a choke", Almagro was in total denial after serving for the match three times against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and failing even to reach match point.

"I don't want to think it's a mentality problem," Almagro said. "If I have a mentality problem, I don't think I would have won the first two sets.

"I don't know what's wrong. I think I played a really good match. At the end it was really tough because I just started to feel some things at 4-3 in the third set on my ankle and on my adductor. After that it was really tough and he started to play better and better, and he is the winner."

Almagro's fragility may have been related to old wounds. Not only had he lost all 12 of his previous meetings with Ferrer, but he has never been to the semi-finals of a grand slam, despite reaching the last eight three times. He is a curious player, a man with a crackerjack serve and a ferocious one-handed backhand. Yet there is a weakness in his temperament.

Tomas Berdych sledged Almagro before the Czech Republic hosted Spain for the Davis Cup final in December, saying he was "missing that little something that distinguishes great players". And the put-down seemed to find its mark as Almagro lost the decisive match.

The one thing you know about Ferrer is that he will keep fighting. He was unusually erratic in the early stages here, but when he needed to ramp up the pressure he did so.

In the end, his 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 win means he will face Novak Djokovic tomorrow. "I will have to play better if I am going to win," he said. "Nole is special: he has every shot."

 


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