David Ferrer, already a champion in both Rio and Doha, claimed his third title of the 2015 season this weekend. The Spaniard, who entered this week ranked 9th in the world, defeated Kei Nishikori in the ATP Acapulco 2015 final (Abierta Mexicana Telcel) 6-3, 7-5.
Ferrer did not have a difficult draw to the final as he plowed his way through Igor Sijsling, Marinko Matosevic, Bernard Tomic, and Ryan Harrison. All four of those players were unseeded in the event, one that saw both Ivo Karlovic and Grigor Dimitrov take an early exit. However the title in Acapulco is still very significant as Ferrer, who won in Rio last week, claimed his second title in as many weeks.
The Spaniard, who stated that his previous matches had “not been very good” against Nishikori, perhaps did not seem all that optimistic heading into the championship match. Ferrer also stated that Japan’s top player had “changed” both “physically and mentally.” However the former Roland Garros finalist showed some resilience against what might have been pre-match concerns. That he was able to dismiss Nishikori in straight sets shows that Ferrer will be a force in the upcoming clay court season.
The Acapulco event, part of the 500-series on tour, offered 500 ranking points to the tournament winner. Ferrer, thanks to the victory, will supplant Tomas Berdych for the World No. 8 position on Monday. Next up for the Spaniard has to be Indian Wells as Spain is not a part of the World Group for Davis Cup play.
As champion, the 24-time ATP World Tour titlist received $343,000 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points. Nishikori, who is guaranteed to rise to a career-high World No. 4 for reaching the final in Acapulco, received $154,620 in prize money along with 300 Emirates ATP Ranking points.
“Tonight I played my best match this week,” said Ferrer. “For sure. I played very aggressive, without mistakes. I’m very happy. To win here a fourth time is a dream.
“I tried to play my forehand to his forehand and with more energy. In important moments, he made more mistakes and I took my chances. I feel very confident with my tennis now. I’ve won three tournaments this year and we’ve only began the season.”
The World No. 9 grasped an early 3-1 lead in the first set and, after trading breaks with Nishikori, served out the first set at love. Continuing momentum, Ferrer quickly raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set. The 25 year old from Japan was able to get one of the breaks back and later fired a forehand to level the set at 4-all.
Nishikori, even though he faltered in the final, will still ascend in the rankings. Japan’s No. 1 is now the World No. 4 as he will inch above Andy Murray in the standings, a player who has not been playing well post-Melbourne Park.
“There were too many unforced errors,” Nishikori said. “I tried to be aggressive but I was missing too much. Especially with this slower surface, he gets everything. I knew I had to step in a little more, but it wasn’t my day.
“I fought hard from 0-3 (in the second set) and tried to come back, but he was too good. It was definitely a great week, I had some tough matches and it’s always a great feeling coming through to a final.”
Nishikori, a nomination for Japan in this week’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Canada, is now expected to head to Vancouver, Canada. With Go Soeda, a player with few major victories, as Japan’s No. 2 Nishikori will be counted on to carry the Japanese side. Japan’s top player can also be expected to play in Indian Wells later this month as he is currently on the players list for that event.