Federer recovers to defeat Verdasco
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56
After Andy Murray’s three-set win over Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday afternoon, the other two protagonists in Group A took to the court at the O2 Arena. Verdasco shocked the Swiss by taking the first set 6-4 but Federer recovered to take the next set 7-5 before winning the final set 6-1.
Federer praised Verdasco’s performance, saying: “It was close, there’s no easy matches here. I had a bit of a struggle early on, got a bit lucky to get through the second but in the third I played great.”
Verdasco had not so much as taken a set off Federer, who has won the end-of-season event four times, in their three previous meetings but four points into the match the Spaniard was a break up. The world number one began proceedings with a double fault and that set the tone for a lacklustre set as Federer struggled to find either his rhythm or his range.
Verdasco, in contrast, was a picture of calm, the sometimes erratic left-hander serving impressively and putting Federer in trouble with his big forehand. The Australian Open semi-finalist saw two more break points go begging in the seventh game but that did not come back to haunt him as he comfortably served out the set.
Predictably, Federer improved at the start of the second set, the Swiss attempting to rush Verdasco by coming to the net. But the world number eight would not be intimidated and made the passing shots when he needed to keep pace with his opponent – fighting back from 0-30 in game eight.
The lively crowd appreciated the high-quality fare, the errors of the opening set forgotten, and at 5-5 it was Federer’s turn to feel the pressure but the 28-year-old survived after two deuces.
And he capitalised on that escape fully in the next game, creating his first two break points of the match – set points, of course – and then levelling proceedings with a crisp smash.
Verdasco must have feared he had missed his chance and he found himself facing break points in the second game of the decider. He saved two but on the third a backhand drifted wide. Suddenly errors were flowing freely from the Spaniard’s racquet and the match was all over when another break gave Federer a 4-0 lead.
Verdasco fought valiantly to avoid a whitewash but it was merely delaying the inevitable and the top seed easily served out the victory.