Grass courts have often been alien to David Ferrer. The Spaniard is an expert on clay and a good hard court player to boot but he admitted, after beating Dustin Brown in straight sets, that he had never played on grass until 10 years ago.
But at last the No.7 seed could be finding his feet on the surface. He won the final at s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands two weeks ago where he beat German Philipp Petzschner, and across two days produced a performance against the flamboyant German Dustin Brown that suggests there is more to come from Ferrer in lawn tennis.
Brown, formerly representing Jamaica, produced several memorable winners but was undone by his inconsistency as Ferrer claimed victory in 1hr and 56mins 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4.
Ferrer, one of the great returners in the game, is learning to adapt to the hustle and bustle of grass court tennis as he looks to better his best Wimbledon return of making the fourth round in 2006 and each of the past two years.
“I did not play on grass until 2002,” the 30-year-old said. “I don’t know how far away the nearest grass court was to my home town.
“I will try to play more aggressive on grass. I try to get a percentage with my first serve and I try to be more aggressive with my forehand. On grass courts it is more difficult to be defensive.”
Ferrer’s only real concern was in Tuesday’s first set tiebreaker as he overcame Brown’s enthusiasm to take it 7-5.
The second and third sets were comfortable with Ferrer showing signs of form on the surface, which he will need plenty more of if he is to cause the big four any problems whatsoever.
Ferrer took the second 6-4 before resuming on Wednesday with the scores pegged at 1-1 in the third.
The Spaniard took his first chance to close out the match with a minimum of fuss breaking Brown in the fifth game of what turned out to be the final set. Brown’s risky serve-and-volley tennis was exposed as Ferrer passed him at 15-40.
Ferrer still had to save a break point in the next game but he was more than good enough to come through the test, although he was frustrated that the weather denied him a rest day before taking on Kenny De Scheeper of France in Thursday’s second-rounder.
“It was difficult because we had to stop and come back again,” Ferrer said. “But I was two sets up so it was no problem. I started again and I won in three sets. I did not change my game despite playing it over two days.”
The world No. 5 has Andy Roddick, Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray in his quarter of the draw, and, although he has never delivered his best form on grass, Ferrer will certainly not be a name this trio will relish playing if he can continue his recent success on the greens over the past few weeks.