Ferrero Finds His Form
Monday, June 20, 2005
At the age of 25, Juan Carlos Ferrero has known the highs and lows of tennis. Perhaps the finest high was to become world No.1 in September two years ago, since then he has suffered illness, injury and a decline in his ranking.
So his solid 7-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over the British qualifier with the Spanish name, Jamie Delgado, was a much-needed confidence boost for an athlete who is no longer even the number one in his own country.
Ferrero, seeded 23rd, needed just over two hours to see off the challenge of an opponent who never managed to crack the world's top 100, despite winning the Orange Bowl as a junior and being rated alongside Tim Henman as an outstanding British prospect.
This was Delgado's eighth appearance at The Championships, four of which have come through the qualifying route, but he certainly made a spirited start on Court One. Perhaps it was Delgado's pirate-like appearance, a shaven head and severely trimmed beard, which startled Ferrero, but the fair-haired Spaniard was unable to impose the expected domination of someone with a much better world ranking.
At 5-4 in the opening set Delgado held two set points and though Ferrero saved both he quickly faced a third when he double-faulted. This was saved with his fourth ace, after which he comfortably held serve and in the tiebreak which followed was convincingly superior, winning it by seven points to two in 49 minutes.
Ferrero's spirits and performance were lifted by this success and he ran away with the second set as Delgado's lack of experience against such quality began to take effect. Ferrero broke serve twice and closed out the set with another ace, his eighth.
To his credit, Delgado made much more of a fight of the third set and worked his way into a 4-3 lead, only for Ferrero to sweep the next three games, closing out the third set, and the match, with his 14th ace. By the end, Delgado's count of unforced errors had mounted to 40.
Written by Ronald Atkin
Court 1 - Gentlemen's Singles - 1st Round
Juan Carlos Ferrero ESP (23) 7(7) 6 6
Jamie Delgado GBR 6(2) 1 4