Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Tennis: Australian outsider hopes for 'one game' against Ferrer

David Ferrer during a practice session in preparation for the ASB Classic.
David Ferrer during a practice session in preparation for the ASB Classic.

The Australian outsider taking on David Ferrer today says he will be happy just to "win one game" against the four time Auckland champion.

World No 299 Matthew Barton caused the upset of the first round, with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory over world No 30 Steve Johnson.

This afternoon he faces Ferrer, a player he last encountered as a 15-year-old during a training stint in Valencia.

"We were training at the same academy and one day one of the coaches told me I was going to hit with David," said Barton. "I was so nervous but it went OK. Now I am going to play him in a match - a dream come true. But it's going to be really tough for me...I'm just going to be happy to get a game."

Barton admits it's strange for an Australian to be playing here -with the amount of tournaments on across the Tasman.

"I wasn't guaranteed anything over there because I am 299," said Barton.

"I entered online here and got in straight away..so I thought I would come and play."

It was a good decision. He got through two rounds of qualifying, then - in his first ATP level match - outplayed Johnson.

"I'm going to miss the Australian Open qualifying - because I am still here - but this more than makes up for it. I've never had an experience like [Monday], to be on centrecourt in front of that many people."

After a series of injuries over the last few years, Barton climbed more than 250 places up the ATP rankings in 2015. Today's match may be a bridge too far but the 24-year-old has nothing to lose.

"It will be tough, he will make a lot of balls, said Barton. "I'll need to play my game and see what happens - hopefully the crowd gets behind me again."

- NZ Herald

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