• Ferrer takes on Davydenko in Doha semifinals

    1/4/13 5:26 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrer takes on Davydenko in Doha semifinals David Ferrer will continue his Doha campaign against Nikolay Davydenko on Friday. The winner will be a part of Saturday's final, set to face either Richard Gasquet or Daniel Brands.

    David Ferrer and Nikolay Davydenko will be doing battle for the sixth time in their careers when they meet in the semifinals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Friday.

    Davydenko leads the head-to-head series 3-2, including 2-1 on hard courts. They have not faced each other since the Valencia quarters in the fall of 2011, when Ferrer prevailed 6-3, 6-4. Davydenko went on a streak of three straight from 2007 to 2010, the last of which was a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 decision at the 2010 Cincinnati Masters.

    Seemingly on a slippery slope to the end of his career, Davydenko has already made a statement to the contrary in 2013. The 31-year-old Russian dismissed Victor Hanescu and Mikhail Youzhny then completely dismantled Simone Bolelli 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday. Davydenko has not yet lost a set this week, nor has he even been extended to a tiebreaker.

    On the other hand, Ferrer's hot start to the season comes as no surprise whatsoever. The fifth-ranked Spaniard went 76-15 in 2012 and so far this year he is 3-0 with victories over Dustin Brown, Tobias Kamke, and Paolo Lorenzi. Brown actually managed to steal a set, but Ferrer lost only eight combined games to Kamke and Lorenzi.

    This one, of course, all comes down to Davydenko's form. You know what you are going to get from Ferrer time in and time out, but the underdog blows hot and cold. If Davydenko continues to play like the Davydenko of old, this will be the best match of the ATP's season-opening week.

    But that's a big "if." Ferrer in straight sets is the pick.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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