Barcelona – Four-time finalist David Ferrer stumbled out in the second round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday, the Spanish second seed losing 6-4, 6-2 to Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.
The loss came five days after world number five Ferrer upset Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at Monte Carlo, a career highlight for the winner.
Nadal was starting his bid for a ninth Barcelona title later against countryman Albert Ramos after a bye.
Waiting for the winner in the third round is Croatian Ivan Dodig, who hammered Spanish 13th seed Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-4.
Last season Ferrer lost at the same stage at the Club de Tenis, going out to Dmitry Tursunov after losing a quartet of finals to Nadal over the years in the Catalan capital.
The favoured Spaniard had beaten Gabashvili in both of their previous matches, both played on hardcourt.
Gabashvili won the opening set in 44 minutes with a break in the final game, when Ferrer hit the net trying to return a drive forehand off the Russian’s racquet.
The Spaniard was able to convert on only one of six break points in the opener as his opponent successfully defended.
In the second, the challenger did not let up, breaking the unsteady Ferrer for 2-0 and finishing off the upset as he broke Ferrer to win it on a second match point, with the the Spaniard putting a forehand long into the corner.
Gabashvili, ranked 55th, is playing Barcelona for the eighth time and had never gotten past the second round. His win over Ferrer lifted his ATP record in 2014 to 4-7.
Ferrer went down in 80 minutes, converting only one of eight break point chances while losing his own serve four times and firing four double faults.
The victory was the best for Gabashvili since upsetting Andy Roddick in the Roland Garros third round four years ago.
Two Spaniards advanced, with sixth seed Nicolas Almagro beating Slovak Martin Klizan 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) and Albert Montanes defeating eighth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.
“It was a tough match, he gets a lot of balls back and makes life difficult,” Montanes said.
“I’m very pleased to have gotten through in straight sets.
“I’m playing well and my confidence is high, it’s a good moment for me. The secret right now seems to be in good mental preparation.” – Sapa-AFP