Verdasco and Wawrinka through in thrillers
Originally published on: 08/09/10 11:14
Fernando Verdasco booked a US Open quarter-final showdown with compatriot and top seed Rafael Nadal after fighting back from two sets down to beat Davis Cup teammate David Ferrer.
The No.8 seed sealed victory with a stunning forehand drive on the run that clinched the fifth set tiebreak for a 5-7 6-7(8) 6-3 6-3 7-6(4) win and end a contest that lasted four hours and 23 minutes.
“It was a very tough match and after losing the first two sets it was the best comeback of my career,” said Verdasco, who had trailed by a break in the fifth and 4-1 in the deciding breaker before storming back.
Earlier in the day, Stanislas Wawrinka ended American hopes for a home grown champion with a marathon 7-6(9) 6-7(5) 7-5 4-6 6-4 victory over Sam Querrey.
The No.25 seed’s victory means two Swiss men will feature in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, while for the second year running the US Open does not have an American representative in the last eight.
Having recovered a one-set deficit twice in the match, Querrey couldn’t hold on in the fifth. A break in game ten handed Wawrinka victory.
“It’s the first time for me, so for sure I am very happy with that,” said Wawrinka about joining Roger Federer in the last eight. “It’s something very important, and I knew before the match it was going to be tough, but I was really focused on the match, on staying with him.”
In contrast, Rafael Nadal made short work of Feliciano Lopez in the night session, progressing with an impressive 6-3 6-4 6-4 win to further claims he is capable of producing his best tennis in New York.
The Spaniard is still to drop serve in the tournament, saving four break points against his countryman, and is convinced his best tennis is yet to come.
“To be in the quarter-finals of the US Open without losing a set and without losing a serve, two things must work really well – the concentration and the serve,” said Nadal.
“I think I am playing well, but I am not playing yet at my highest level. I am playing better and better every day and I had to play a little bit better this match.”
The Nadal-Verdasco showdown will revive memories of their epic five-hour Australian Open semi-final in 2009, which Nadal edged on his way to his first hard-court Grand Slam title.
And the world No.1 does not expect Verdasco’s four-hour exploits against Ferrer to influence the outcome.
“Yes that was long but I played in Australia five hours, 15 minutes in semi-finals, and I had to play the final one day later,” Nadal said. “I was very tired, but I was ready. I think for sure he’s going to be ready.”
Up next for Wawrinka is 2006 semi-finalist Mikhail Youzhny, who beat Spaniard Tommy Robredo 7-5 6-2 4-6 6-4.
“It’s the first time in a year that I have already had two quarter-finals in Grand Slams,” said the Roland Garros quarter-finalist. “It maybe means I’m starting to play a little bit more consistently. I hope to continue.”