David Ferrer beat Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-3 to win the Paris Masters last night, clinching the first Masters title of his career and a tour-leading seventh trophy of the season.
The fourth-seeded Spaniard lost his three previous Masters finals – twice to Rafael Nadal and once to Andy Murray – but this time he didn’t have a Grand Slam winner in front of him and never looked in real danger, although he did lose his serve early in the second set.
“I feel the pressure more than him, because I played three times in a Masters final,” Ferrer said. “He’s a young player. It was the first final for him, without pressure.”
Ferrer collapsed to the floor and held his head in his hands after securing victory on his first match point when Janowicz’s two-handed backhand was wide. Ferrer’s seven titles this season is one more than Roger Federer, who did not defend his title in Paris.
“I was very nervous because it was my chance to win a first Masters title but somehow I knew it was my turn,” Ferrer said. “To me this is a dream to win here. If I won it’s because I have a great team.”
The 30-year-old Ferrer says he is in the best form of his career, but still thinks he is some way from matching the game’s top players.
“Maybe I won more titles than Federer, but Federer won the important titles. Federer or [Novak] Djokovic or Andy Murray, not me,” he said. “I will try to improve my game.”
The 69th-ranked Janowicz made an incredible run to the final, eliminating five top-20 ranked players in a row. But this time his mighty serve let him down.
“I’m proud of myself,” Janowicz said. “This has been an incredible week. I would like to thank my family, my fans here and all my supporters back home.”
Janowicz, who had previously reached only one career quarter-final, in Moscow last month, is projected to climb to 26th in the rankings. He was playing in his first final and looking to become the first qualifier to win a Masters title since Albert Portas won in Hamburg 11 years ago.
The last qualifier to reach the final in Paris was Radek Stepanek in 2004 while the last player to reach a Masters final on his debut was Harel Levy of Israel in 2000. He lost to Marat Safin in Toronto while Safin also defeated Stepanek in the Paris final.
In the fourth game of the match, the entertaining Janowicz hit a booming serve of 242 kilometres per hour (150 mph) and drew cheers from the crowd at the Bercy arena when he followed up an extravagant drop shot with a spectacular volley winner.
“I think he has the game to become a top-ten player,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer, who saved ten break points in the first set in his semi-final against Michael Llodra, was briefly troubled in the ninth game when Janowicz forced the first break point of the match, but the Pole wasted it after hitting an unforced error into net.
In the next game, Janowicz saved one break point with an ace, before gifting Ferrer another chance with a double-fault. Ferrer converted it when Janowicz’s loose forehand went long.
Janowicz started the second set brightly and broke Ferrer in the third game. The Spaniard’s forehand was called in and Janowicz challenged it, drawing a huge roar when the big screen showed it landing out and prompting a beaming smile from the Pole, who has thrilled the crowds all week with his cavalier style of play.
The advantage was, however, shortlived as Ferrer broke back in the next game for 2-2, with Janowicz’s errant forehand again to blame as he swiped the ball long.
Ferrer then saved two break points in the next game before breaking Janowicz again to take control of the match at 4-2.