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Verdasco zoning in on Italian assault

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Originally published on: 29/04/10 13:20

Declaring himself to be in the “best moment” of his career after ten victories in his last 11 games on clay, Fernando Verdasco called on every ounce of the confidence he has gained in recent weeks to reach the third round in Rome.

Trailing 5-2 against Italian Simon Bolelli in his opening match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the world No.9 saved six set points to rally through to a 7-6(11) 6-3 victory in an hour and 47 minutes.

Verdasco, who reached the final of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time in Monte Carlo, professed to fearing no-one – except Rafael Nadal – on clay after taking the Barcelona title last week, but will likely have to again face his countryman in the final if he is to win in Rome.

Six-time Grand Slam champ Nadal swept Verdasco aside for the loss of just one game in Monte Carlo, but pulled out of the Barcelona Open the following week to gear up for Rome.

And it is a withdrawal that could prove to be more commonplace for a player notorious for furiously competing for every point in which he contends as the days of a fully-loaded tour schedule look destined to be behind Nadal.

“I suppose we’ll play a little less,” said Toni Nadal this week. “[The decision to skip Barcelona] was also related to the need to prepare for the upcoming season, which is hard, and avoid having problems with Wimbledon and Roland Garros.

“The important thing for Rafa is not the ranking, but to be in good shape for every tournament he takes part in, to know that he has the chance to win the tournaments he takes part in.”

Typical of Spaniard’s in this quarter of the year, David Ferrer is another in smoking form on the red stuff, having featured in two finals this year – losing in Buenos Aires to Juan Carlos Ferrero before getting the better of his compatriot in Acapulco the following week.

And with 20 wins to just three losses under his belt on dirt in 2010, the 13th seed is probably the last person Andy Murray wanted to meet on clay in the third round in Rome….

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