Ferrer’s career comes to an end with loss in Madrid

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MADRID — David Ferrer’s career came to an end with a 6-4, 6-1 loss to Alexander Zverev in the second round at the Madrid Open on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old Spaniard had announced earlier that this would be his last tournament because he didn’t feel he was fit enough to keep competing at a high level on tour.

Ferrer finished his 20-year career with 27 singles titles, fifth-best among active players behind the top four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Ferrer had 733 wins in 1,111 matches, fourth-best among active players.

Visibly overcome by his emotions, Ferrer had a difficult time serving while facing match point, backing off a few times and asking for a towel to wipe his face.

After losing he received a standing ovation from the crowd at the packed “Magic Box” center court, then went back to leave his headband on the ground near the net.

Ferrer spoke for several minutes in a ceremony to honor him, thanking everyone who helped his career.

“I’ll never forget this day,” he said, with his wife and son by his side. “I’ve been very lucky. I’ve always wanted to end my career like this. I couldn’t keep playing at the level that I wanted, but I’m very happy and very proud of my career.”

Messages from other players were shown on the large screens during the ceremony, with most praising Ferrer’s toughness and “never-give-up attitude” on the court.

“All the players are very sad he is retiring,” said Zverev, who also looked moved. “You always left everything on the court, in every single match. It’s a privilege for me to be here playing against you in your last match.”

Ranked 144th entering the Madrid tournament, Ferrer got off to a good start against Zverev, opening a 4-1 lead in the first set. But the defending Madrid Open champion rallied to win the next five games to close out the set and eventually the match.

Ferrer lost to Nadal at the 2013 French Open final, the only time he made it to a Grand Slam title match. Ferrer was No. 3 in the world that year, his highest ever ranking. He was among the top 10 for seven seasons. He also won three Davis Cup titles with Spain.

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before Saturday’s final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament on Friday.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) on Saturday before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).