David Ferrer must win the Portugal Open title this weekend if he is to stand any chance of success in Madrid and Roland Garros as the Spaniard gears up for a grueling few weeks of clay-court season.
Ferrer is currently in the quarter-finals of Oeiras after eventually beating off Edouard Roger-Vasselin over three sets on Wednesday and now faces a relatively easy route to the final, needing to be Victor Hanescu in the next round.
The first seed joined the tournament as a late wildcard, for he is using the match practice to build his strength for Madrid and the French Open following a hampering leg injury. He suffered from a leg injury during his marathon final defeat to Andy Murray in Miami and it affected him enough to sit out of Monte Carlo. In Barcelona last week, his first clay tournament of 2013, he crashed out in his first round and looked a shadow of what tennis betting fans saw in America.
Hopefully the Spaniard has fully recovered from that leg pain and betting fans should seriously consider backing him to win the Portugal title this weekend. The competing field is very weak – with world number 16 Stanislas Wawrinka seeded second – and this can only help Ferrer build up match practice without much strain on his body.
Indeed, while most of the ATP sit out of action this week ahead of Madrid, Ferrer is doing the right thing participating in this event and should benefit from it when in the Spanish capital.
Granted, the world number four is unlikely to win the Madrid title – for both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are on fire right now – but Ferrer will make the semis if his leg holds out and betting fans could win a lot of money on a man who is long odds for success.