Nadal does Verdasco a favour
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:55
Tsonga needed to retain his title to deny Verdasco a place at the prestigious eight-man tournament in London later this month, but found Nadal far too consistent and fell to a 7-5 7-5 defeat.
The world number two struggled in his first two matches, saving five match points against Nicolas Almagro before edging out Tommy Robredo, but his form was much improved on Friday.
Tsonga dominated much of the first set with his blistering groundstrokes but could not take advantage of five break points and gradually Nadal took the sting out of his opponent before breaking in the 11th game.
The second set took on a similar pattern, although the errors, particularly tactical ones, were more frequent from the home favourite and Nadal again broke at 5-5 thanks to a poor game from Tsonga.
The 23-year-old confidently served out for victory and will face Novak Djokovic in a juicy semi-final on Saturday after the third seed also did his bit for Verdasco’s cause.
Djokovic was a 6-4 1-6 6-3 winner against Robin Soderling, who would have moved into this year’s top eight by reaching the final in Bercy.
Soderling frequently looked the better player against Djokovic but the world number three dug in and a decisive break in the eighth game of the decider put him on course for victory.
The Swede dominated the second set and created 14 break points on his opponent’s serve during the match, but took only three of them.
Nadal and Djokovic have met 19 times, with the Spaniard holding a clear lead at 14-5. However, Djokovic won their last encounter in Cincinnati in August for the loss of only five games.