Melbourne – Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer needed five match points before subduing American Tim Smyczek in four sets to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Ferrer was extended by the 125th-ranked American before clinching a 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win in 2hr 38min on Margaret Court Arena to take his place in the last 32 of the tournament.
The Spaniard looked to be heading for a regulation straight-sets victory but the tenacious Smyczek broke him twice to take the set and keep Ferrer longer out on the court.
Smyczek, despite being treated several times at changeovers by the trainer for a tight right thigh, chased down everything and Ferrer needed five match points before finally prevailing.
“I'm OK because I've won the match and he gave a good performance. I don't have any physical problems, so all's good,” Ferrer said. “I will rest this afternoon and tomorrow and get ready for my next match.”
It was Ferrer's ninth win in 10 matches this year after reaching the semi-finals at Doha and successfully defending his title at Auckland last week.
Ferrer, playing in his 41st straight Grand Slam, is looking to take advantage of his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal's enforced absence to go deep into the second week at the Open.
He beat Nadal in the quarter-finals in Melbourne two years ago before going down to Andy Murray in the semi-finals, his best performance at the Australian Open. Ferrer will play Marcos Baghdatis in the third round. – Sapa-AFP