Ferrer fights back to win in five
- Melbourne Park
- 14-27 January
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Fourth seed David Ferrer kept his Australian Open hopes alive with an extraordinary five-set win over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals.
Almagro led by two sets and served for the match three times, but eventually went down 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.
"I try to fight every point, every game," said Ferrer. "I know all the players, in important moments, we are nervous. I know that. I try to do my best. Today I was close to losing, for sure.
"I think the tie-break of the fourth set I played very good. And in the fifth, he was cramping, problems with his leg, so it was easier for me."
Ferrer, 30, will take on defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic next, while Almagro must reflect on a golden opportunity missed.
The world number 11 stood on the verge of a first Grand Slam semi-final when serving at 6-4 6-4 5-4, but failed to close it out, and then missed two more chances in the fourth set.
The fact that he had a 0-12 record against Ferrer - and had missed match points against him in Madrid and Cincinnati in the past - might well have been playing on his mind.
Ferrer won his first tie-break in 14 attempts at Melbourne Park and, with Almagro requiring treatment for cramp ahead of the decider, there was little prospect of a fourth look at the finish line.
When Almagro was broken for the second time in the set, he smiled and tapped his opponent on the knee as they passed at the changeover, knowing the game was up.
"I don't want to think that it's a mentality problem," said Almagro. "If I have a mentality problem, I think I didn't win the first two sets."
The 27-year-old from Murcia said he was unsure exactly what the physical issue had been in the closing stages.
"I don't know what's wrong," he said. "I think I played a really good match. It was close. It was a great battle. At the end it was really tough because I just started to feel some things at 4 3 in the third set on my ankle and on my adductor.
"After that it was really tough and he started to play better and better, and he is the winner."