- ATP World Tour Finals
Super Stan stays alive at the O2
Stanislas Wawrinka kept his hopes of reaching the last four of the ATP World Tour Finals alive after fighting back from the brink of defeat to overcome David Ferrer.
A loss for the debutant would have meant that Tomas Berdych would qualify with Rafael Nadal from the group for the semi-finals.
- When Stanislas Wawrinka was a set down, there was one man who thought his task had been made a whole lot easier.
- Tomas Berdych became an adopted Spaniard this afternoon to root for David Ferrer, but now a place in the semi-finals of the event is in Berdych's hands.
- A victory for the Czech over Rafael Nadal seals a last-four spot. If he does it in straight sets, then he tops the group ahead of Nadal and will avoid facing Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals on Sunday.
- If Berdych fails to beat Nadal, then thanks to his win this afternoon it will be Wawrinka who finishes second in the group to make it through with the year-end world No. 1.
But after dropping the first set, Wawrinka recovered to put the pressure on Berdych tonight in his clash with Nadal by beating Ferrer 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1. A Berdych win sends the Czech through, but a defeat means Wawrinka qualifies with Nadal for the semi-finals.
No one more than Ferrer would have been disappointed with the way he has played at the event, after defeats to Nadal and Berdych meant his chances of reaching the last four had disappeared.
And given how the opening set went against Wawrinka, it seemed as though the Spaniard had nothing more to give after gifting a break to his opponent as he fell 5-2 behind.
Ferrer though found some fighting spirit, and struck form when at the moment of no return in the set, taking four games on the spin to move 6-5 in front - converting a fifth break point to go on the verge of taking an unlikely lead.
Wawrinka momentarily stopped the rot by forcing a tiebreak, but the Swiss was outclassed by the grit and determination of Ferrer as the Spaniard took the first four points, and then dropped just three more to clinch the tiebreak.
Wawrinka was now staring at elimination, and the man who sent then-champion Andy Murray out of the US Open en route to the semi-finals regrouped in tremendous style.
He saved a break point in the second game of the second set and then took his in the following game - leaving Ferrer to smash his racquet in frustration. And despite Ferrer not losing serve again, he could not reclaim the break as Wawrinka took the match into a final set.
The concentration of Ferrer had disappeared right at the start of the decider, as a forehand that was easy to make landed wide, and with it Wawrinka raced into a 2-0 lead. Ferrer closed the gap to one game at 2-1, but all the momentum was with Wawrinka as he stormed to the win to remain in the tournament for another few hours at least.
"I had the chance to win the first set, but I started to get a little bit nervous," Wawrinka admitted after the win. "Against Ferrer, you cannot do that as he's always there and always trying to fight. The most important thing for me was to fight with myself, and that's what I did better at the end."
After a long season, Ferrer admitted that playing in seven tournaments in the space of seven weeks proved to be a lot. "I now know it was too much," a weary-looking Ferrer said. "Before, I never knew it [would be like this]."