Spain's David Ferrer advanced to the U.S. Open semifinals for the second time with a marathon 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory Thursday over Janko Tipsarevic, in part due to surprisingly strong serving.
In a contest of two strong baseline players more known for speed and consistency than power, both players controlled their service games for the most part. For the match, each player lost his serve just four times.
Ferrer managed to break the Serb's serve twice in the first set in rolling to a 6-3 win, but was unable to earn a single break point in sets two and three en route to falling behind two sets to one.
But despite less effectiveness than usual with his return game, Ferrer hung in the match thanks to his own serve, racking up 15 aces for the match and winning 70 percent of his overall service points.
The Spaniard took the fourth set with one service break and then the match came down to a battle of nerves in the fifth-set tiebreaker.
In the end, Tipsarevic made too many costly unforced errors, including a backhand in the net on match point, and Ferrer escaped with a narrow victory in four hours and 31 minutes.
"I don't have words to explain how I feel about the victory, which was very difficult against a great opponent like Janko, who also deserved it because he's a great player and was incredible," the 30-year-old Spaniard said.
With the win, Ferrer ran his head-to-head record over Tipsarevic to 3-1 and also advanced to his fourth Grand Slam semifinal and second U.S. Open semifinal.
Ferrer also became the only Spaniard other than Rafael Nadal to reach at least the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slam events in the same season.
On Saturday, the No. 4 seed will play for a spot in his first-ever Grand Slam final against the winner of the Thursday night quarterfinal pitting world No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro.
Ferrer holds a 5-2 career edge over the Argentine, but is 5-8 against Djokovic and has lost all three of his Grand Slam matches against the Serb in straights sets, including the semifinals of the 2007 U.S. Open.
Scotland's Andy Murray will square off against Czech Tomas Berdych in Saturday's other semifinal.
The U.S. Open is the last of the four Grand Slam events on the tennis calendar. EFE