Spanish terrier David Ferrer pulled off a miraculous escape to reach the Australian Open semifinals on Tuesday but then said he would need something even more spectacular if he is to get to his first grand slam final.
The fourth seed recovered from two sets down to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-2, three times breaking the 10th seed when he served for the match.
“It was a miracle I won this match,” Ferrer said in a courtside interview. “I tried to fight and do my best but I need to play better than today in the next round.”
Ferrer now plays world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia for a place in the final.
Ferrer said he would have his work cut out to get revenge for his defeat at the same stage of last year's US Open.
“Nole is a special player,” Ferrer said. “He's the best, I think. He's the number one of the world and he's the favourite to win the Australian Open. But anyway I will have to play better than today for to win, for sure.”
Recovery programme secret: Djokovic
Djokovic refused to reveal details of his recovery programme on Tuesday but stressed it did not break any rules after he bounced back from a marathon match to reach the semi-finals.
The world number one and defending champion steadfastly blocked questions about his recovery after he appeared unaffected in his quarterfinal despite playing for five hours against Stanislas Wawrinka two days earlier.
Djokovic, 25, playing freely and doing his trademark splits and slides across the court, beat Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 2hr 31min to set up a semi-final with David Ferrer.