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Hot in San Jose, Verdasco runs cold in Memphis

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Originally published on: 05/03/10 18:30

A good workman never blames his tools – and he hasn’t – but Fernando Verdasco appears to be having mixed fortunes with his new stick.

Since making the switch from his Technifibre blade to his current Yonex RDiS 200, the Spaniard claimed a fourth ATP title in San Jose on Sunday, before following up with a straight sets defeat to Jeremy Chardy in Memphis.

The second-seed fell to a 7-6(4), 6-3 defeat to the world No.41 at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, just two days after defeating Andy Roddick in the final of the SAP Open.

But Verdasco, who finally snapped his 15-match losing streak against the top 10 players by defeating the world No.7 on Sunday, portioned the blame on his tight tournament schedule – rather than his choice of racket – after the first round exit.

“With just one day in between matches and in different conditions, and not being able to practice on the stadium court before the match, it was difficult,” said the 26-year-old, who was plagued by unforced errors.

“It was difficult for me to get the timing. But he played a great match. He served really good.”

Chardy produced a flawless performance on serve, winning 88 per cent of points on his first serve and did not give away a single break point throughout the 75 minute encounter.

The result is all the more surprising, given that the 23-year-old Frenchman had not won a match in 2010 before his scalp over the world No.11, having lost at the first hurdle – and in straight sets – in all three of his matches in Australia, and at last week’s SAP Open.

But in Memphis, Chardy exploited the weaknesses of the unsettled Verdasco, who failed to come close to the form he had displayed the week previously.

“It was difficult for him because he won last week and came here at the last second,” Chardy said.

“He couldn’t practice on the courts. I knew it would be difficult for him so I started the match very aggressive.”

Verdasco’s exit opens the way for the man he defeated in San Jose to have a crack at a third title, with American Roddick opening the defence of his 2009 title against good friend and compatriot James Blake later today.

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