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Friday, June 26, 2009

Verdasco fights back to beat Montanes

Photo Titled Verdasco cut
Verdasco cut
Fernando Verdasco came from a set behind to dispose of Albert Montanes in the first all-Spanish match at this year’s Championships.

The seventh seed eked out a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) victory played in glorious conditions on No.2 Court this afternoon despite a slow start. It was not that left-hander Verdasco was playing badly in the first set but that Montanes simply slapped the life out of the ball and hit the lines with incredible accuracy, giving the illusion that his top 10 opponent was a tad slow around the court.

Verdasco appeared a little taken aback by the speed and ferocity with which his compatriot was returning balls and the all-guns blazing performance was, perhaps, a surprise.

After all, the men have met on two previous occasions – Verdasco being the victor on both of those. While he has reached the fourth round twice, including last year, Montanes was making his debut third round Wimbledon appearance so one perhaps might have expected nerves.

But there was no sign of them and, by the end of the set, it was Verdasco who had notched up 10 unforced errors compared with Montanes’s two. Visibly annoyed, the seventh seed vented his frustration in a number of ways.

At one point, he hammered his shoe with his racket, the next time he slapped his thigh angrily, on another occasion he sent his racket hurtling through air, and then fans saw him frantically pull at his hair.

The second set was a different story as Montanes seemed to tire. Drama also unfolded when Montanes dropped a ball very short, Verdasco scrambled to get it over the net, the ball came back and Verdasco hit an incredible reflex volley. Montanes thought the ball had been struck twice and questioned the umpire, but it did not matter, the umpire had only seen one touch and soon the set was Verdasco's.

Breathtaking rallies ensued in the third and fourth sets, with the match eventually decided on a tiebreak, which the world number eight commanded from the outset. A forehand winner earned him the match and a place in the round of 16 for the third time in his career.

Court 2 - Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round
Fernando Verdasco ESP (7)Winner46677
Albert Montanes ESP (32)61462

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