By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - David Ferrer admitted he effectively 'threw in the towel' on the way to a 4-6 6-4 6-0 6-1 quarter-final defeat by defending champion Rafa Nadal at the French Open on Wednesday.
Ferrer, who beat the world number one in the Monte Carlo Masters claycourt quarter-finals this year, ran out of steam after taking charge of the first set.
"(In the second set) Rafael started playing a lot better, making fewer mistakes, and then it's like I threw in the towel," said the fifth-seed, who lost in the all-Spanish final against Nadal at Roland Garros last year.
"I don't usually do this, but I thought, I'm not going to be able to come back into the match. I thought, No, no, not against Rafa. He's such good a player."
Ferrer lost 13 of the last 14 games - and 10 in a row - as Nadal cruised towards a semi-final meeting with Wimbledon champion Andy Murray of Britain.
For someone who still managed to take a set off Nadal, who until then had yet to concede one in Paris this year, Ferrer was harsh on himself.
"I wouldn't even use the word 'frustration' you see. What I missed is perhaps strength or the appetite to win and the drive," he said.
"I lost my focus, and then I made so many mistakes. Well, of course everybody can make mistakes, but today... the third set is something I'd like to forget," he said.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alan Baldwin)