Del Potro claims nervy win
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56
With both players having lost their opening match of Group A – Del Potro to Andy Murray and Verdasco to Roger Federer – they knew this contest could make or break their chances.
And, despite failing to serve out the victory, it was the US Open champion who eventually came out on top.
Verdasco had played superbly for two sets against the world number one on Sunday but it could not have been more different, the Spaniard amassing 11 unforced errors in the opening five games.
With Del Potro serving for a one-set lead, his opponent suddenly found his range and the Argentinian needed two pinpoint aces to save break points before a Verdasco backhand dropped wide on the second set point.
The initial stages of the second set, although of a better quality, were dominated by serve, but it was Del Potro who cracked first, Verdasco taking the first break point of the set. That left the world number eight serving to level proceedings, and he completed the task with aplomb, wrapping up a love game with an ace.
Perhaps realising he had let his opponent into the match, Del Potro upped the ante at the start of the decider.
Verdasco resisted the pressure initially but in the sixth game an inopportune double fault gave his opponent three break points. Two were saved then on the third Del Potro stopped the rally to challenge a shot he thought had gone long. He held his head in his hands awaiting the replay but the ball had indeed missed the line and the Argentinian had the breakthrough.
Verdasco was now on the ropes and he needed a brilliant pass to save a match point at 2-5 – and that would prove crucial moments later when Del Potro tamely surrendered his serve.
The 21-year-old had another match point at 5-4 but again it went begging and a tie-break was needed to separate them. This time Del Potro was not to be denied, though, and he wrapped up victory when Verdasco fired a forlorn forehand well wide.