MIAMI • David Ferrer is set to retire from professional tennis in May, but the Spaniard showed he still has the tools to bring down the biggest names in the game after a stunning world No. 3 Alexander Zverev of Germany 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 at the Miami Open on Saturday.
Afterwards, the 36-year-old veteran, who will bring the curtain down on his career at the Madrid Open, admitted it was "a special day".
At his post-match interview, he said: "It's the last year of professional tennis for me.
"Winning these type of matches against a top-10 player like Zverev is a gift. I'm very happy and I'm trying to enjoy every point and every moment."
Ferrer will next take on 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe, who fought past Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 (7-6), 7-6 (7-5) for a place in the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer, a year older than Ferrer, but also still playing at an elite level, rallied from a set down to beat Moldova's Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 as he kick-started his Miami Open campaign.
The Swiss maestro, beaten by Austria's Dominic Thiem in the final at Indian Wells earlier this month, smashed 14 aces and broke his opponent twice to advance to the third round, where he will face Serbia's Filip Krajinovic today.
ATP ranking of Spanish veteran David Ferrer, 152 spots below that of Germany's Alexander Zverev, the man he beat in Miami.
However, it was far from plain sailing for the world No. 5 against Albot, ranked 41 places below him and Federer praised him for showing "a great attitude".
He told reporters post-game: "I have a lot of respect for those types of players who don't have the size and have to find a different way to win. He's a great, great player. I was impressed."
Earlier, South Africa's Kevin Anderson made a winning return to competition - this was his first ATP Tour event appearance since the Australian Open in January - with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Jaume Munar.
After more than two months on the sidelines, the world No. 7 smashed 17 aces en route to the second-round win over the 21-year-old and he later claimed he was "happy with how the elbow responded".
The South African, who plays Portugal's Joao Sousa today, added: "To get through in three, it felt really good to be back out there. I feel like I'm hitting the ball great."