Ferrero Through in Five
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former world No.1 who is currently ranked 31 but seeded 25 (23,get it right
) for these Championships, is on course to repeat his best performance on grass, namely an appearance in the round of 16 two years ago.
Since then he has slipped down the rankings, suffering from right wrist and rib injuries and going down with a bad bout of chicken pox, which prevented him from performing to his best abilities during 2004.
As a result the 25 year-old has become the forgotten Spaniard, pushed into the background by the recent arrival of Rafael Nadal and ever-popular Carlos Moya. Consequently the 2003 French Open champion and US Open finalist is striving hard to re-establish himself at the top echelons of the tennis world.
The road back to the top is proving a hard one, and his match today was just another gruelling battle along the way. On this occasion he was made to work hard for his second round victory by the 29 year-old Hyung-Taik Lee, a Korean who has had patchy results over the last five years, his best Grand Slam showing being the fourth round of the US Open in 2000 as a qualifier.
Lee is probably best remembered for his tenacity he has displayed at Queen's where, in 2002, he lost a three set quarter-final to Tim Henman and again last year, when he made the last four where he was defeated in three sets by Sebastien Grosjean. He arrived this year with a record of 12 grass court wins against 11 losses.
The two had met on two previous occasions and honours were even. This clash was their first on grass and Ferrero may well have been surprised by the Korean's dogged and powerful play, which propelled Lee to a two sets to one lead.
The match could well have gone either way and for the best part of the 3 hour, 36 minute match, Lee was on the verge of causing an upset. But eventually Ferrero's class told and he sealed the 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory with two screaming forehand winners.
Ferrero's next opponent could well be his compatriot Fernado Verdasco, who put out the 13th seed, Tommy Robredo, also of Spain, in straight sets. Verdasco is playing his own second round match against Florian Mayer of Germany later today.