• ATP Tour

Ferrer battles to win over Roger-Vasselin

ESPN staff
May 1, 2013
David Ferrer was pushed hard before advancing in Portugal © AP

David Ferrer kicked off his Portugal Open challenge with a hard-fought 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The Spaniard took a wildcard into the event, automatically becoming the No 1 seed, seemingly in a bid to pick up ranking points in order to stay in the top four in the world ahead of the French Open.

His results in Portugal, Rome and Madrid will have a bearing on whether Rafael Nadal returns to the top four prior to Roland Garros. Should Ferrer accrue enough points to stay in the top four, French Open organisers will be faced with the poser of whether to manipulate the seedlings and boost Nadal or leave him outside the top four which would result in him facing one of the big guns in the quarter-finals.

There is likely to be some pressure on Ferrer, but in the first set he did not show it as he bided his time against his French opponent and took the one break point he crafted to secure the set.

Roger-Vasselin threatened an upset when securing a break of serve at the start of the second set, but it merely stung Ferrer into life and back-to-back breaks put him in control. However, the dogged Roger-Vasselin broke back in the seventh game and broke for the third time in the set to level the match.

The final set mirrored that of the first, with Ferrer working the solitary break to book his passage to the third round in 10 minutes under two hours.

"I think I played well in the first set and part of the second," Ferrer said following his first match at the event in four years. "But I lost my focus and didn't return serve well. I will need to improve my game for the next round."

Up next for Ferrer is a clash with Victor Hanescu who beat Benoit Paire 7-6(2) 6-4.

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