David Ferrer battled his way past Olivier Rochus in the Valencia Open
Last Updated: 23/10/12 7:49pm
David Ferrer: Given a stern test
Top seed David Ferrer is through to the second round of the Valencia Open after a hard-fought 7-5 7-5 victory over a gritty Olivier Rochus.
Ferrer made an uncharacteristic 42 unforced errors but eventually prevailed after just under two hours and a quarter.
Both men struggled to hold serve in the opening set and, having assumed an early 3-1 lead, Ferrer then dropped three games in a row as Rochus broke twice.
But the Belgian was then broken himself and tamely lost his serve to love when he was trying to force a tie-break at 5-6.
The second set was another gruelling affair, Rochus again finding himself a break up at 3-2 before serving for the set at 5-4.
However, once again, he could not hold serve when it really counted, squandering a set point and eventually losing a lengthy 10th game in which he also saved four break points.
And he was broken again two games later, staving off one match point but then netting when Ferrer earned another.
Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's chances of qualifying for the ATP Tour finals in London were dealt a blow when he pulled out of his first-round match against Xavier Malisse due to a back problem with the unseeded Belgian leading 3-1 in the opening set.
Blow for Lopez
Earlier, Sam Querrey of the United States beat Feliciano Lopez 6-3 7-6 to deal a blow to the Spaniard's hopes of playing in next month's Davis Cup final.
And Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine also secured a 6-3 7-6 victory, in his case against Filippo Volandri of Italy.