- US Open, Day 11
Ferrer outlasts Tipsarevic in quarter-final epic
David Ferrer continues to carry the flag for Spain as he dug deep into his reserves to claim a five-set win over Janko Tipsarevic in their US Open quarter-final.
With Rafael Nadal sidelined with a knee injury, Ferrer has taken on the baton and has carried it superbly through the fortnight at Flushing Meadows. He dropped just one set in his run to the quarter-finals but was pushed to the brink by Tipsarevic before prevailing 6-3 6-7 2-6 6-3 7-6.
Tipsarevic made a bright start, breaking in the opening service game, and it fed his desire to trade with Ferrer from the back of the court. It was a plan that looked flawed, given Ferrer's famed defensive skills and aggressive baseline game, and so it proved as the Spaniard raced through five games on the spin to take the opening set.
Having come off second best in the baseline battle, Tipsarevic attempted to change things up in the second and he ventured to the net with great regularity. His forays forward gave Ferrer something new to contend with and it levelled the playing field as the set went to a tiebreak. Tipsarevic took his level higher towards the end of the second and he carried that form into the breaker, coming up with two astonishing backhands - one to work a minibreak and the other to wrap up the set.
Taking the second set was built on the backhand down the line and that formula continued in third - with Tipsarevic time and again ripping clean winners. In the first set he got no joy out of trading with Ferrer. In the third he did, with Tipsarevic breaking twice courtesy of some stunning attacking play.
The fourth set saw Ferrer steel himself for a big effort and he broke through the defences of Tipsarevic, whose movement across the baseline was not as slick as in the previous two sets.
Tipsarevic summoned the trainer at the start of the fifth for running repairs on his feet, which suggested he was flagging. The Serb was forced to save break points in his opening service game, but he came through and yet another stunning backhand secured him what seemed an unlikely break of the Ferrer serve.
Ferrer made a real push in the fourth game but Tipsarevic came up with a moment of sheer brilliance to halt the Spaniard's charge. Under pressure, Tipsarevic scampered from side to side and came up with a quite brilliant topspin lob that left his opponent in a state of bewilderment.
That would have sapped the belief from most players, but Ferrer simply shrugged it off and broke in the seventh game - having seen Tipsarevic take a nasty tumble in the previous game.
There was a further twist as Tipsarevic cramped while serving in the ninth game. He summoned the trainer and received a huge strapping on his thigh. He trudged back to the baseline and somehow held serve, but Ferrer just kept coming.
It was appropriate that a match of such quality went to a final set tiebreak. The Arthur Ashe Stadium gave the pair a standing ovation before the breaker. And it was Ferrer who took the second ovation, with just one minibreak between them. On the eighth point, brutal hitting from Ferrer took Tipsarevic out of position and it handed him the advantage that he converted after four and a half hours of brilliance.