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David Ferrer once again performed the giant killing act as he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in a thrilling encounter at the O2 Arena. In a match that swung first one way and then the other, Ferrer eventually triumphed 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to beat Del Potro for the third time in 2012. The win put Ferrer just behind Federer in the Group B standings. In the matinee match, Federer had shut out Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-1 to move past Ivan Lendl for most match wins at the year ending championships. Leander Paes & Radek Stepanek who opened proceedings in the evening eased past Aisam ul Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger in straight sets 6-4, 7-5 to head the Group A doubles tables. Ferrer next takes on Federer while Del Potro faces Tipsarevic in a battle to stay alive in the tournament on Thursday.
In the marquee evening match up Juan Martin Del Potro won the toss and chose to receive. It was a slightly defensive choice and David Ferrer grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he served solidly and took control of the points to hold serve early. The Spaniard looked to be in good touch and was handling Del Potro's power but the Argentine held to level proceedings at 1-1.The big man from Tandil upped the power and generated a break point as Ferrer struggled to come to terms but a return dumped in the net saved the Spaniard and he held serve crucially. The Spaniard then stepped up his level a notch and began his best passage of play as he defended stoutly and moving wonderfully turned defense into attack to generate his first break points on the Del Potro serve. He didn't need much invitation as he promptly broke the Argentine with a superb pass drawing the errant volley. Ferrer was now positively skipping and playing with all the confidence in the world, threw in a drop shot and held emphatically with an ace to consolidate the break. Del Potro might easily have gone down a double break but some aggressive play drew him out of that hole, eventually forcing Ferrer to serve out the set at 5-3. Drama is not what Ferrer does and he held without any fuss to serve out the set 6-3 in just 40 minutes.
David Ferrer is relentless in style and was not going to let Del Potro off the hook in the second set. After the pair held their opening service games, Ferrer once again started making inroads into the Argentine serve generating multiple break points. Creditably, Del Potro stood firm, wiped out the 4 break points to eventually hold to 2-1. Worryingly though, Del Potro had the trainer out during the change of ends raising questions over the Argentine's fitness all over again. The trainer was in all probability a red herring as Del Potro upped his game to break Ferrer in the fourth game showing an increased willingness to take on the ball and be the aggressor. The Argentine consolidated the break by holding to love moving into a 4-1 lead. Eventually, in a mirror image of the first set, this time it was Ferrer's turn to force Del Potro to serve out the set at 5-3. Del Potro did not have the uncomplicated hold that Ferrer did, but held on none the less - a surprise drop shot levelling the match at a set apiece.
Ferrer began the final set in fine fettle moving with gusto and playing each shot with a purpose. The Spaniard held serve and then gave himself three chances to break at 0/40 on the Del Potro serve. A fabulous cross court pass gave the 4th seed the break leaving Del Potro with a mountain to climb to come back into the match. Ferrer would have none of it, seeking to put even the thought of a come back out of Del Potro's head, consolidating the break to put himself firmly ahead 3-0. Del Potro though is bullish enough to not give in no matter how dire the situation. The big Argentine kept himself in the hunt by holding serve and in the crucial 7th game broke back with some huge ground strokes to bring the set back on serve at 4-3. A visibly flustered Ferrer threw in a brace of errors as Del Potro levelled the match 4-4 in the decider. A disappointing game by Del Potro gave Ferrer 5-4 leaving the Argentine with the unenviable task of serving to stay in the match. As it turned out the Spaniard took the bull by the horns attacking Del Potro's serve, taking control of the points and breaking the Argentine to love to complete a facile victory 6-4 in the decider.
Earlier, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in their debut here as a pair, overcame seventh seeds Aisam ul Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger in straight sets 6-4, 7-5. The third seeds always had the measure of their opponents and raised their game at the business end of each set, breaking in the 9th and 11th games to move into pole position in Group A following the first round of matches. Leander Paes was undoubtedly the best player on display and combined well with Stepanek who had an indifferent serving day to ease past their less experienced opponents.
D.Ferrer d J.M.Del Potro 6/3, 3/6, 6/4
L.Paes / R.Stepanek d A.Qureshi / J.J. Roger 6/4, 7/5
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