Nicolas Almagro insists he is not a choker after defeat to David Ferrer
Last Updated: 22/01/13 1:27pm
David Ferrer (L) and Nicolas Almagro (R) embrace after five-set thriller
Nicolas Almagro insists he does not have a "mentality problem" after blowing a chance to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.
Almagro was leading Spanish compatriot David Ferrer by two sets to love and was 5-3 up in the third, only to lose 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-7 (4-7) 2-6.
It was the 34th consecutive time that Almagro, the tenth seed, has failed to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam, and in 13 matches with Ferrer he has failed to win once.
He may never get a better chance - he served for the match three times, only to be broken on each occasion and Ferrer said his victory was a "miracle".
Almagro denied he had 'choked' and blamed the defeat on a groin injury suffered in the fourth set tie-break.
"If you're not 100 per cent to play I am not sure if it's mental or not," he said. "I tried to play my best tennis today and I think I did that. But that's not enough to beat David.
"I don't think that it's a mental problem. If I have a mental problem I don't think I would have won the first two sets.
"But today was a big opportunity for me. Well, I'm going to work to be ready for the next."
It was further anguish for Almagro who lost in the deciding rubber as the Czech Republic beat Spain in the Davis Cup final in Prague last November.