Federer survives scare to breeze past Verdasco
Monday 23 November 2009
For more than a set and a half last night it seemed that Roger Federer was heading for a third consecutive defeat for the first time in more than seven years.
The world No 1, who had lost to Novak Djokovic in Basle and to Julien Benneteau in Paris in his previous two matches, looked badly out of sorts in losing his opening set to Fernando Verdasco at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals before recovering to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Given that Federer's next match will be against Andy Murray it was vital that the Swiss made a winning start. Twelve months ago he never recovered after losing to Gilles Simon in his opener and went out of the competition after falling to Murray in his final round-robin match.
Although Federer had never lost a set in three previous matches against Verdasco, he has often had trouble with left-handers – especially those from Spain – which was probably why he warmed up by hitting on centre court with Greg Rusedski.
The scoreboard above the court stated at the start of the match that Federer was representing Spain. The Swiss certainly seemed happy to help Verdasco, who broke to love in the opening game. While Federer kept getting into trouble on his serve and made 16 unforced errors in the first set, Verdasco had few such difficulties and took it in 38 minutes.
From that point onwards, however, Federer started to hit the ball more cleanly and his confidence rose. The second set went with serve for the first 11 games, although Verdasco had a chance when Federer served at 5-5 and 30-30.
In the following game, however, Verdasco was broken, Federer levelling the match with a smash on his first set point. Having averted the crisis, he won eight of the last nine games to take the match in just under two hours. By the end the world No 1 was playing with his usual panache and was particularly potent at the net.
"In the first set I was struggling to hit normal returns and I thought he did a good job mixing it up," Federer said afterwards. "I just felt that at the beginning of the second set I was starting to return better."
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
Jose Mourinho on Sir Alex Ferguson: 'A good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much'
Arsenal vs QPR live: Latest score and updates plus reaction to wins for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader