It is hard to call a man who is as accomplished on clay courts as David Ferrer a dark horse at Roland Garros, but the Spaniard has yet to reach the semi-finals. At the age of 29, he still has to show he has the legs to go far, but in his 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky on Friday, he looked more than capable of reaching his first final four. The no.7 seed looked extremely comfortable on a cold and windy morning, flying about the court, crushing forehands, mixing up the direction of his backhands, serving efficiently and attacking second serves.
He has yet to drop a set in his three matches this week, and managed to nail 22 winners compared with just nine unforced errors. A two-time French Open quarter-finalist, Ferrer would love to make a rush at the semis at least once before he retires, and has looked good enough during the clay-court season this year to do so, winning in Acapulco over Nicolas Almagro and finishing runner-up to Rafa Nadal in the Monte Carlo and Barcelona finals. He also reached the Australian Open semis on hard courts.
While the Valencian is not favored to win the title, with five-time champion Nadal and red hot Novak Djokovic being tipped by most analysts, he is not in either his Davis Cup teammate's or the Serb's draw. He will now face either Gael Monfils or Steve Darcis in the fourth round and could play 2009 champion Roger Federer in the quarters - a man he has never beaten in 11 attempts, though he has run him close on clay.