After previous struggles at the Barclays ATP World Finals, top-ranked Rafael Nadal was able to ease past fellow countryman David Ferrer on Tuesday in a round-robin match at O2 Arena in London, 6-3 6-2.
Nadal is now within one victory of a No. 1 ranking for 2013. It was a convincing and morale-boosting victory for the 27-year-old, who is seeking his first ever title in this tournament, and after losing to Ferrer on Saturday in Paris.
Ferrer failed to establish his first serve as a weapon, winning just 24 percent of his first-serve points in the opening set. Nadal set the tone of the match by being successful on 13-of-17 first-return points in the first set. He also broke Ferrer’s serve in six of his seven chances in the match.
Nadal admitted that he hit the ball too short against Ferrer in their meeting in Paris, and was able to capitalize on Ferrer’s less mobile effort in London.
"They are never easy games against David Ferrer, the number three in the world," Nadal told BBC Sport. "He is great and having an amazing career.
"He played a lot better than me in Paris last week but today I played a little bit better than him and it's important for my confidence to start with a victory after Paris.
"There is no rest [for tomorrow] but the energy of this stadium is fantastic and hopefully I am ready for tomorrow against Stanislas Wawrinka."
Nadal has never lost to Wawrinka, and has a 16-3 record over his other round-robin opponent, Tomas Berdych. But the victory over Ferrer might be a sign that Nadal has overcome fatigue, and should be favored to win the tournament.
A victory over the No. 3 player in the world could serve as a major momentum builder for Nadal, who is known to prefer clay over hard court, and after some disappointing results indoors. The best Nadal has done in the ATP World Finals is an appearance in the Finals.
An IB Times staff reporter contributed to this report.