LONDON - David Ferrer made it known at Wimbledon on Tuesday that just because Rafa Nadal would not fill his customary berth in the final, another Spaniard had what it takes to follow in his footsteps.
The seventh seed was at his brilliant best in brushing aside the towering Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 6-2 6-3 to book a quarter-final on Wednesday against home favourite Andy Murray.
Nadal, who has reached the final the last five times he has played at Wimbledon and won twice, was upset in the second round last week.
Ferrer converted five of his eight break points in a fourth round match on Centre Court that became more one-sided as it progressed from an opening game in which Ferrer saved the only four he had to face.
The 30-year-old, world number five and a top 20 player consistently since 2005, has come quietly through the draw dropping only one set, to Andy Roddick in the third round, on his way into the last eight.
Former U.S. Open champion Del Potro made almost three times as many unforced errors as his opponent and by the end looked as subdued as the bleak weather that forced Monday's postponement and the roof to be closed during Tuesday's warm-up.
Ferrer showed his renowned tenacity and willingness to scrap for every point not just with retrievals from seemingly impossible positions but finding astonishing point-winning angles in the process.
He brushed off almost everything Del Potro threw at him, giving the error-prone Argentine who mixed fine shot making from deep with poor choices closer to the net, little chance to settle into a rhythm.
"You have to congratulate him for his consistency throughout the match," the Argentine said.
"There were long and even points and generally the one attacking was me. He who takes more risks has more chances of failing but it's the only way (to look for a win).
"He played very well. When he's on that form it's difficult to beat Ferrer and the rest of those who are (ranked) above me," the world number nine said.
Ferrer said his return was probably his best shot in this tournament.
"Maybe my return is my best weapon on a grass court because on grass I don't really have power in my serve. I'm playing very well with my return," he said.
The rhythm was with Ferrer who, on this form on grass which is not his favoured surface, will be a formidable opponent for Murray.
Ferrer, whose previous best at Wimbledon was reaching the fourth round three times, beat Murray in the French Open last month and came to London with a 15th career title after victory on grass at Den Bosch.
The pressure will be on Murray on Wednesday, he said.
"Maybe he will have more pressure than me because he's playing at home, with his people. Sometimes it's not easy. But I think Andy is a great player." (Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Pritha Sarkar)