David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori faced off for the second time in the early part of 2015 in the Mexican Open final.
By the end of 2014, David Ferrer saw players such as first-time Grand Slam champions Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka overtake him in the rankings, forcing him down to No. 10 in the world.
Through the first couple of months of 2015, the Spaniard showed he wasn’t ready to accept his place in the standings. By the time of the Mexican Open in February, Ferrer had won two of his first three tournaments of the year, with his only loss coming to Kei Nishikori in the Australian Open fourth round.
Those two would go on to meet each other again in the final at the hard-court event in Acapulco. Both of them entered the match on winning streaks, with Ferrer having just won the Rio Open on clay, while Nishikori extended his dominance at the Memphis Indoors.
Back in 2008, Nishikori announced his presence on the world stage with a five-set win over Ferrer at the 2008 US Open. In the years since, Japan’s top player had taken six of nine of their subsequent matches. It was Ferrer’s turn to strike first in Acapulco as he took a 3-1 lead early and maintained the advantage through the rest of the set, closing it out with a 5-3 hold at love.
In the second set, Ferrer kept up the pressure, going up 3-0, but Nishikori rallied to tie things up at four games apiece, with the two displaying how difficult it was to win points from the other.
The second seed halted that charge to break again and serve for the match up 5-4. Nishikori, the top seed, denied Ferrer the chance to close it out, leveling the set at 5-all, but as he served to go ahead, Nishikori was broken once again. This time, Ferrer wouldn’t be denied as he held serve to clinch his third title of the year.
This was the third time in Ferrer’s career that he won two or more hard-court titles in a season.
The last time a player won titles on clay and hard courts in consecutive weeks was 30 years prior, when Ivan Lendl accomplished the feat in 1985, according to the ATP.
The last straight-sets match between the two came in 2013 at the Miami Open, which was also the most recent encounter taken by Ferrer.
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