David Ferrer followed up his victory over Andy Murray by thrashing an out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London last night.
In many ways the world number five had been the outsider in Group A prior to the start of the O2 tournament and his win over Murray was overshadowed by the Scot's subsequent withdrawal through injury.
Last night's setback was only Djokovic's fifth defeat of the season but it really looked like his amazing year had caught up with him and he will now need to beat fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic tomorrow to be sure of a place in the last four.
Ferrer said: “Maybe it's my best match this season. He was maybe a little bit tired and made some mistakes but I didn't make any mistakes. This tournament is very important to me.”
The Spaniard had beaten Djokovic four times in their 10 meetings, but three of those had come on his favoured clay.
Djokovic, who came into the tournament carrying a shoulder problem, was certainly not playing at the level that has carried him to three grand slam titles this season and 70 match wins, and after losing the last four games of the firstset he was broken at the start of the second set.
He stopped the rot at seven straight games to his opponent but another break effectively sealed his fate and a forehand blazed well out was a 33rd unforced error and a sorry end.
Meanwhile, the chances of the World Tour Finals staying in London could depend on Chancellor George Osborne's Budget statement in March.
The Lawn Tennis Association are keen to renew their current five-year deal to stage the season-ending championships, which ends in 2013, but know that some leading players are unhappy at having to pay tax on their endorsement deals for every day they spend in Britain.
Roger Draper, chief executive of the LTA, said here yesterday that he had been lobbying the Government, arguing for the London event to be among those exempted from the tax ruling.
Andy Murray's withdrawal with a groin injury enabled Tipsarevic, the first alternate, to make his debut yesterday. The 27-year-old, who broke into the world's top 10 for the first time only last week, pushed Tomas Berdych to the brink before losing 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 after two hours and 26 minutes.