AUCKLAND: Top-seed David Ferrer warmed up for the Australian open with a fourth ATP Auckland crown when he recovered from two early service breaks to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets yesterday.
It was a confidence-boosting finish for Ferrer ahead of the opening Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne as he fought back to win 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 after Kohlschreiber held set point at 4-5 on serve in the first set.
Despite dropping his second and fifth service games, it took Ferrer just 78 minutes to dispose of Kohlschreiber with most of the time spent on the first set which lasted 52 minutes before the Spaniard won the tie break 7-5.
However, while it showed he was tapering nicely for the Australian Open, Ferrer put thoughts of Melbourne aside as he celebrated equalling the record of former 12-time Grand Slam winner Roy Emerson as the only players to win four times in Auckland.
“It was amazing for me to win here for the fourth time. Now I can say this is my favourite tournament,” he said.
“But every tournament is different and now I want to enjoy this moment because it is very special for me and tomorrow (today) I will go to Melbourne and practise again.”
Once he settled into the game, crucially finding his rhythm when facing set point, Ferrer took full control as he darted around the court retrieving the seemingly impossible.
As his confidence rose, Kohlschreiber’s game fell apart and he was unable to compete with the Spaniard physically or mentally.
After Ferrer broke Kohlschreiber in the 10th game of the first set, he broke him again three times in the second set which included taking the match on a double fault as the German’s usually lethal serve deserted him.
“I had a very good start but it’s very hard to play against David, he never gives up, he gives you all the time one-more shot,” said Kohlschreiber who conceded he needed to take the first set to have any chance of winning.
“I didn’t take the first set and he raised his level and that’s why I think the second set went too fast.”
Ferrer will play Belgian Olivier Rochus in the first round of the Australian Open.AFP