David Ferrer is definitely determined and playing hard at the 2015 Italian Open as he had to hold off a late fightback from Belgian David Goffin on Friday 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 which puts him in the semi-finals. He will now be facing some stiff competition from Novak Djokovic or Japan’s rising tennis star Kei Nishikori.
Goffin, who had stunned Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, had advanced to the last eight of the competition with a walkover after third round opponent Andy Murray withdrew on Thursday citing fatigue.
But despite levelling the match by winning the second set, the 24-year-old from Liege was overcome by his more experienced Spanish rival in the decider.
Ferrer, a French Open finalist in 2013 when he was beaten by compatriot and good friend Rafael Nadal, has never triumphed in Rome, although he reached the final in 2010 when he was also beaten by his fellow Spaniard.
He will meet defending Italian Open champion Djokovic if the Serbian accounts for Japan’s Kei Nishikori in their quarterfinal later on Friday.
In his 16th year on the ATP World Tour, Ferrer has enjoyed one of his best starts to the season, compiling a 32-6 mark. He captured three ATP World Tour titles in Doha (d. Berdych), Rio de Janeiro (d. Fognini) and Acapulco (d. Nishikori) and also reached the semi-finals in Barcelona.
The No. 20-ranked Goffin was contesting his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final after saving three match points against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round and then being given a walkover on Thursday, when Andy Murray withdrew due to fatigue. The Belgian, who was named 2014 Comeback Player of the Year, dropped to a 12-11 mark on the season.
Djokovic warned after a hard-fought third round win over Thomaz Bellucci on Thursday: “He (Nishikori) is not somebody who is a promising player, he’s already an established top 10 player, a Grand Slam finalist and very consistent.
“I think he’s playing great ever since he started working with Michael Chang.”
Seven-time Italian Open champion Nadal, meanwhile, faces Swiss Stan Wawrinka while Roger Federer, looking for his maiden title in Rome, has a last eight meeting with Czech Tomas Berdych.