Ferrer out at first hurdle in Doha

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • The World No.7 struggled to get going against his lower-ranked opponent.

    David Ferrer’s title defence journey in Doha ended at the very first hurdle as the fourth-seeded Spaniard suffered a shock three-set defeat to World No.94 Illya Marchenko.

    Ferrer, whose only first round defeat in Doha in five previous appearances came at the hands of Roger Federer 11 years ago, blamed fatigue and a superior opponent for his surprise 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-2 exit.

    – VIDEO: Rafael Nadal reflects on 2016 Mubadala victory
    – VIDEO: Sport360 comp winner enjoys Wawrinka clinic
    – INTERVIEW: Stan Wawrinka holds high hopes for 2016
    – INTERVIEW: Andy Murray on fatherhood and 2016

    The World No.7 had shown great form in Abu Dhabi losing a close three-setter to Rafael Nadal on Friday at the Mubadala exhibition event before defeating Stan Wawrinka the next day.

    But he struggled from the start against Ukrainian Marchenko, who was 0-4 in matches and 0-11 in sets against top-10 opposition prior to the clash with Ferrer.

    Ferrer finished the two-hour 17-minute match with an alarming tally of 43 unforced errors against just 13 winners and the 33-year-old committed nine double faults.

    “I don’t know why but I’m tired, I’ve been tired since I got here and didn’t even train on Sunday,” said Ferrer.

    “In Abu Dhabi I was with energy, and maybe tonight I didn’t have energy. I don’t know why. I work, and, well, tonight it was not a good day.

    “Of course I am disappointed because I lost in the first round. Not because last year I won. I know every year is different and last year is the past.”

    Ferrer trailed by a break for most of the first set but rallied back when Marchenko wobbled while serving for the set at 5-4 to force a tiebreak. In the breaker, Ferrer fell behind 1-5 but again launched a comeback and saved a set point for 6-6.

    The Spaniard double-faulted on one of his chances to close out the set but he converted on his third to inch ahead.

    World No.94 Illya Marchenko claimed his biggest scalp on the ATP World Tour.

    Marchenko could have folded after that, having come so close to winning the set and seeing it slip away but the 28-year-old Ukrainian was soon up a break in the second, levelling the match and he led by a double-break in the decider, going up 4-1 thanks to a Ferrer double fault.

    Serving for the match, Marchenko double-faulted three times but Ferrer didn’t capitalise on any of his chances to break and the Ukrainian finally sealed his victory with a drive winner and looked around in disbelief of what he had just accomplished.

    “It’s a fantastic day for me,” Marchenko said after getting the first top-10 win of his career.

    “I feel great, obviously, beating a guy that high ranked. And I have really huge respect for David. I enjoy his matches, how he fights on court, and it’s a huge moment for me.”

    Ferrer paid tribute to his opponent saying: “He was better than me all the match. From the first set, he deserved to win the match.”

    The veteran Spaniard is playing with a new racquet. Asked if it is taking him time to get used to it, Ferrer said: “No. I have faith in the racquet and I believe it will help me and I’ll finish my career with this racquet.”

    Marchenko next faces Teymuraz Gabashvili in the second round on Wednesday.

    The Ukrainian admits the high from this win will be difficult to handle but is hoping to keep his cool against Gabashvili.

    “For sure it’s really difficult to handle that stress. I’m having like such emotions what I didn’t have before, and obviously it’s not much time for the second match. Gabashvili is a tough opponent for me. We had good matches with him and tough matches. 

    “I’m not expecting easy win tomorrow because, you know, when you beat those guys, your confidence goes up and you expect that you beat now everyone like he did before.

    “No, I’m not expecting that, and we will see tomorrow how I stay concentrated and everything. It’s difficult to say what’s gonna happen tomorrow.”