Every week Baseline will select a “Player of the Week.” That athlete may not always win the highest category tournament that week, but perform the best compared to their recent playing history.
David Ferrer and consistency have gone together for well over a decade. The Spaniard has never won a Grand Slam title, but at the age of 35, he has accomplished more than nearly all of his peers.
Ferrer competed in 48 straight majors as a seed prior to Wimbledon this year, more than any other male or female during the same time span. He won at least one tour-level title every year from 2006 until 2015, excluding 2009. But as play began this week in Bastad, the veteran had not reached a final since October of 2015 in Vienna.
In fact, Ferrer only had a 10-14 record in 2017, dropping outside of the Top 35 for the first time since early 2005. He failed to make it past the third round at any of the year’s first three Slams for the first time since 2009.
But much like his playing style, Ferrer kept fighting, and it paid off when he beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-4 to win his third SkiStar Swedish Open, joining Mats Wilander and Bjorn Borg in a tie for second-most victories in Bastad behind Magnus Gustafsson, who won the event four times.
For a while, it looked like Ferrer would not even make the semifinals. As the Spaniard attempted to win three matches in a row for the first time this season, world No. 104 Henri Laaksonen had two match points to send the eighth seed home in the third set. But Ferrer managed to extend the match to a final set tiebreaker, which he won.
Then he overcame a hiccup in the second set against compatriot and world No. 35 Fernando Verdasco to advance to the final against Dolgopolov. There, despite nearly losing a 5-1 lead in the second set, Ferrer finally got back in the winner’s circle.
"It's been two years that I haven't won a tournament, so I'm really happy for this win," Ferrer said. “I still have the motivation. I know it will be very difficult to get back to the Top 10, but if I stay competitive like this week, I will play next year for sure.”
While 2017 has not been Ferrer’s banner year by any means, he showed last week that even though he may be fading, the now 27-time ATP champion will not go away quietly.
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