David Ferrer is one of the best tennis players on the ATP Tour without a Grand Slam title on his résumé. Although he's been impressive en route to the 2012 U.S. Open semifinals, he doesn't have the firepower necessary to upset Novak Djokovic.
The 30-year-old Spanish star has enjoyed the most complete season of his career. Ferrer has reached at least the quarterfinals in every major tournament and has separated himself from the pack, securing the No. 5 spot in the rankings.
Ferrer is a scrappy player who gets the most out of his natural ability. He doesn't have the power of the elite servers or the athleticism of his semifinal opponent, but he still wins a lot of matches because he's willing to outwork the guy across the net.
Who will advance to the final?
Ferrer's road to the final four has been anything but easy. He drew Kevin Anderson, one of those powerful servers mentioned above, in the first round. Anderson just missed the cut line for seeded players, making him one of the toughest matchups Ferrer could have faced.
Ferrer didn't let the bad luck phase him, though, winning in straight sets. After eliminating Igor Sijsling in the second round, the Davis Cup stalwart was forced to face accomplished veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who's still a threat.
Once again, Ferrer overcame the obstacles to advance in four sets. He's proceeded to beat Richard Gasquet and Janko Tipsarevic, the No. 13 and No. 8 seeds in the draw, to earn a spot in the semifinals on Saturday.
Even though that's a run worthy of praise, none of those players are Djokovic. The five-time Grand Slam champion is looking to win his fourth straight major title on hard courts dating back to the 2011 Australian Open.
In order to beat him in a best three out of five set match on hard surfaces, you need to have a lot of weapons. Ferrer doesn't have them. He beats people with solid, consistent play that eventually forces an opponent to wear down.
After struggling with some fitness issues earlier in his career, Djokovic is in elite shape now and can run all day to win a match. Simply playing good defense with counterattacking offense won't be enough to knock him out.
The two stars have played three times in Grand Slam tournaments. Djokovic hasn't dropped a single set in those three matches, including a 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 victory at this year's Australian Open.
So while Ferrer should be applauded for his outstanding run in New York, it will come to an end in the semifinals unless Djokovic is way off his game. Those matches have become increasingly rare over the past two years.
Ferrer's pursuit of a major championship will have to wait for another time.