Miami: Fish d. Ferrer
We talk about turning points in sports a lot because oftentimes there's more than one over the course of a match. That wasn't the case in Mardy Fish's surprisingly straightforward 7-5, 6-2 win over David Ferrer, sending the American into the semis.
At 5-all in a well-contested opening set, Ferrer served at 30-30. Two double-faults later, he had surrendered the first break of the match and would proceed to win just two more games. If that isn't the definition of a turning point, I don't know what is.
Ferrer has long been classified as a player who can outlast anyone with his consistent shotmaking, but the Spaniard's play worsened as the match went on. He struck an usually high amount of errors and, even more puzzlingly, seemed to give in mentally. When a crying baby interrupted his service motion early in the second set—was there any doubt he'd go on to lose the point?—Ferrer hit a ball into the stands after the inevitable break. Judging be the sharp, derisive whistles from the crowd, I can only assume it was lobbed toward the wailing infant.
With the win, Fish is now the highest-ranked American on the ATP tour and can crack the Top 10 if more results go his way. He prevailed today by doing the same things that got him where he is in the rankings: by mixing in timely offense with patient, deep rally shots; moving well; and utilizing his serve as a weapon. He was never broken today; in the first set he won 90% of his first-serve points. The second-set encore was even better, at 92%. Better for everyone, that is, except Ferrer.