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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Verdasco serves up battling win

Photo Titled Fernando Verdasco Fernando Verdasco
Fernando Verdasco of Spain was forced to fight for nearly three hours before overcoming Kristof Vliegen of Belgium in a battle of the big servers on Court 3.

Verdasco, the seventh seed, eventually won 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, the score reflecting the dominance of both players’ serving on a warm day when the conditions complimented power play.

Both players maintained the intensity of their serving through to the fourth set when Vliegen was the victim of the only service break. With Verdasco ahead 5-4, and on the match point, the Belgian gifted him the match with a forehand error off the service return.

It was always going to be bleak for the loser after such a tight contest in which neither player was prepared to concede anything. With only one previous meeting between them, which Vliegen won at the 2006 Australian Open, there was no form guide. Verdasco, however, is in his seventh Wimbledon and knows the territory well, while Vliegen was seeking a win to equal his best Grand Slam performance.

Verdasco has much on his shoulders now that Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal has left him as the highest ranked Spaniard in the field. But after two hours and 55 minutes of toil today he showed that he is a player to be reckoned with.

He produced 20 aces against 14 by Vliegen and closed the match out well against an opponent who showed enough defiance to suggest he would have loved to set up a fifth-set showdown. Vliegen celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday but would have liked an extra reason to celebrate today.

Verdasco’s seeding here is his highest at a Grand Slam. He started the year by beating the British No. 1 Andy Murray in the fourth round of the Australian Open before eventually losing to Nadal in the semi-finals.

He can look ahead to a potential quarter-final here against Roger Federer and the manner of his serving and his attitude today suggest he is well equipped for the task.

Court 3 - Gentlemen's Singles - 2nd Round
Fernando Verdasco ESP (7)Winner7763776
Kristof Vliegen BEL 6377644

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