Ferrer Returns To Winners' Circle With Bastad Title
Victory never tasted so sweet for David Ferrer. Two years removed from his most recent ATP World Tour title, the Spaniard lifted a trophy once again, prevailing at the SkiStar Swedish Open on Sunday.
Elated and emotional, Ferrer raised his arms in triumph and held back tears as the 35 year old needed one hour and 26 minutes - and seven match points - to dismiss Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-4. He fired three aces and saved four of five break points faced, turning in a vintage Ferrer performance predicated on great agility and depth off his forehand.
It was Ferrer's 27th ATP World Tour title, the most in the Open Era without winning a Grand Slam, and first since emerging victorious in Vienna in 2015. The former World No. 3, who has since fallen to No. 46 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will enjoy a bump of 13 spots with the title. With Roger Federer, Feliciano Lopez and Victor Estrella Burgos also winning titles this year, it marked just the second time in the Open Era that at least four different players aged 35 & over have claimed ATP World Tour crowns in a single season.
Watch Final Highlights
"It's been two years that I haven't won a tournament, so I'm really happy for this win," said Ferrer. "I was a little nervous up 5-1 and Alexandr played without pressure. I tried to be focused on every point, but when I had all those match points I was thinking too much.
"I am going week by week, match by match and 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. I still enjoy playing tennis, but it's different as I am 35 years old."
In addition, Ferrer joins Swedes Magnus Gustafsson (4), Mats Wilander (3) and Bjorn Borg (3) as the only players to win the Bastad title on three or more occasions in the Open Era. He previously defeated Nicolas Almagro for the 2007 crown and again downed his countryman for the 2012 title.
Most Bastad Titles (Open Era)
|Magnus Gustafsson (SWE)
||1991, '92, '96, '98
|Mats Wilander (SWE)
||3||1982, '83, '85
|Bjorn Borg (SWE)
||1974, '78, 79
|David Ferrer (ESP)
||2007, '12, '17
Ferrer was in cruise control on Centre Court on Sunday, breaking for a 5-4 lead on a Dolgopolov backhand error and streaking to a double break advantage in the second set. The eighth seed would earn a pair of match points on Dolgopolov's serve at 5-1, but the Ukrainian refused to go down without a fight, saving them both.
The tides began to turn as Ferrer was broken to love while serving for the match at 5-2 and another championship point would come and go in the next game. A majestic backhand slice drop shot winner from Dolgopolov saw him hold for 5-4 and the pressure soared. Three more match points were saved as Ferrer served for the title a second time, at 5-4, but he would eventually cross the finish line as a Dolgopolov forehand sailed long on his seventh championship point.
2017 Winners Aged 35 & Over
||Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Halle, Wimbledon
|Victor Estrella Burgos
Ferrer improved to 10-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, exacting revenge after Dolgopolov captured their most recent encounter in Rio de Janeiro in Feburary. It was their second final meeting, with the Spaniard taking a three-set affair in Valencia in 2012.
Ferrer takes home €85,945 in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points, while Dolgopolov earns €45,265 and 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points. The Ukrainian was contesting his eighth ATP World Tour final, seeking his fourth title. He notched his third crown earlier this year in Buenos Aires (d. Nishikori).
"I want to congratulate David, he didn't give me many chances," said Dolgopolov. "Thanks to everyone here in Bastad for the warm welcome. It's my first time here and I reached the final, so hopefully I will be back."