Has Djokovic Hit 'The Wall'?

Source: AP/heraldsun.com.au
Novak Djokovic has lost just once on hardcourt to David Ferrer. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/AP
There is a reason David Ferrer is known as ‘The Wall’. Not only is he the Energizer bunny of the ATP Tour, with his indefatigable ability to chase down balls he has no right to get, he is also one of the most mentally strong players going around. Three times on Tuesday compatriot Nicolas Almagro was serving for their quarter-final match, and all three times Ferrer survived, eventually going on to win in five sets . It says plenty about Almagro’s well-known mental fragility, but Ferrer has made a career out of being a dogged fighter who rarely gives up cheap points.

The fourth seed described the win as a “miracle”, but he might need some further divine intervention to overcome his next opponent. There were questions about whether Novak Djokovic could go all the way in the first Grand Slam of the year after his exhausting five-setter against Stanislas Wawrinka that finished 12-10 in the final set, but he answered them in the best way possible with a dominating four-set triumph over in-form Czech Tomas Berdych.

Ferrer’s one potential advantage over Djokovic could have been his match fitness, but given the outcomes of their respective quarter-finals, the Serbian appears to be in better physical shape going in their fifth meeting in Slam. Djokovic has won all four battles between the pair in majors, easily accounting for the Ferrer twice each at Melbourne Park and Flushing Meadows.

To go a step further, Djokovic’s record against the Spaniard on hardcourt is nothing short of dominant. He has won 10 of their 11 matches on the surface, and only once has he dropped a set in those victories, and that was when he won 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-2 in last year’s US Open semi. Ferrer’s lone victory on hardcourt came at the end of season event in London in 2011 when he smoked the top seed 6-3 6-1, but Djokovic’s body was well and truly in need of a rest throughout that round robin as he also lost in three to Tipsarevic and was pushed to the limit by Berdych.

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