Juan Carlos Ferrero, roared on by an ecstatic home crowd, trounced the world No 2, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to give Spain a 2-0 lead over Russia in their Davis Cup quarter-final in Malaga on Friday.
Ferrero was thrust into the limelight by the Spanish captain, Javier Duarte, who opted for the 20-year-old instead of the more experienced Albert Costa, and he rose to the occasion.
Taking just a few minutes to find his feet on the outdoor clay, Ferrero breezed through the first set and then broke Kafelnikov's serve in the first game of the second set.
Kafelnikov clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to level the score at 2-2 before Ferrero's powerful battery of shots overwhelmed the former French Openchampion. Kafelnikov lookedincreasingly despondent as the second set wore on.
In the third set the Russian managed to hold his first service game. But it was only a temporary respite as Ferrero started up the fusillade of thundering groundstrokes again and won his third consecutive set 6-2 to score the best victory of his career.
Duarte admitted that opting to play Ferrero in the singles had been a gamble. "But I had the feeling his game was perfect to see off the Russians," he said.
Spain can secure their place in the semi-finals if they win today's doubles which will pit Alex Corretja and Juan Balcells against Marat Safin and Andrei Cherkasov.
Earlier, Corretja beat Safin 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.Reuse content