MIAMI: David Ferrer is set to retire from professional tennis in May but the Spaniard showed he still has the tools to bring down the biggest names in the game after a stunning 2-6 7-5 6-3 win over world No. 3 Alexander Zverev at the Miami Open on Saturday.
The victory clearly meant a lot to the 36-year-old, who will bring the curtain down on his career at the Madrid Open.
“It’s a special day because it’s the last year of professional tennis for me. Winning these type of matches against a top 10 player like ‘Sascha’ is a gift,” he said.
“I’m very happy and I’m trying to enjoy every point and every moment.”
Ferrer will next face 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe who fought past Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(6) 7-6(5).
Roger Federer, a year older than Ferrer but enjoying a career renaissance, rallied from a set down to beat Moldovan surprise package Radu Albot 4-6 7-5 6-3 in a stuttering start to the 20-times Grand Slam champion’s Miami Open campaign.
Federer, beaten by Dominic Thiem in last week’s BNP Paribas Open final, smashed 14 aces and broke Albot twice to advance to the third round but it was far from plain sailing for the 37-year-old against the world number 46.
“I expected a player with a great attitude, which he showed,” Federer said. “I have a lot of respect for those types of players who don’t have the size, have to find a different way to win. He’s a great, great player. I was impressed.”
Federer was stunned by Thanasi Kokkinakis in his opening match of the Miami Open last year and another early exit was beckoning when he dropped the first set on Saturday.
However, the Swiss battled back to break Albot while leading 6-5 in the second with a backhand volley winner to square the match.
Albot could not convert a break point in the deciding set when tied a 3-3, and Federer took command from there to wrap up a match that lasted two hours and 10 minutes.
Three-times Miami champion Federer finished with 38 winners but had to overcome 41 unforced errors to defeat Albot, who earned an ovation from the crowd for his efforts.
Federer will next face Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic today.
Earlier on Saturday, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson made a winning return to competition with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over rising Spaniard Jaume Munar.
After more than two months away from the court with an elbow injury, the world number seven smashed 17 aces en route to the second round win over the 21-year-old Munar.
Two Russian prospects, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, had different fates on Saturday.
The 10th seed Khachanov was beaten by Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 while his friend Medvedev, the 13th seed, toppled France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-1.
Eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(4) 6-1.
In other early action, Belgian David Goffin, the 18th seed, defeated Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-1, while Canadian 20th seed Denis Shapovalov came from a set down to beat Britain’s Dan Evans 4-6 6-1 6-3.