Verdasco eases through opener



Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:30

The Spaniard, who lost to Rafael Nadal in an epic Australian Open semi-final earlier this year, launched his Roland Garros campaign with an impressive display in his 6-2 6-1 6-4 victory.

Verdasco has had a solid 2009, making the quarter-finals of all eight of the tournaments he has played in, and he sped through the first two sets of his opener here.

Earlier, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt dug deep to turn around an epic first-round match against Ivo Karlovic and claim a superb five-set win on Court One.

The Australian’s famous never-say-die attitude was in evidence as he posted a 6-7 (1/7) 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 6-3 victory to stay on course for a third-round meeting with top seed Nadal.

Hewitt, currently ranked 50 in the world after an injury-hit 2008, takes on Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan next.

Karlovic, the 26th seed, smashed down 55 aces in the match but still slipped to his first defeat in four meetings with the former Wimbledon and US open champion.

Another two-time grand-slam champion, 20th seed Marat Safin, who is playing his last Roland Garros before retiring from the sport at the end of the year, eased to a 6-4 6-4 6-4 success over Frenchman Alexandre Sidorenko.

Croatia’s Marin Cilic, the 13th seed, lost just seven games as he cruised past Jan Hernych 6-0 6-4 6-3. Elsewhere, there were wins for Dudi Sela and French lucky loser Mathieu Montcourt, who progressed after opponent Yen-Hsun Lu retired injured.

Meanwhile, France’s Gael Monfils, the 11th seed, confirmed at a press conference he will be fit to play Bobby Reynolds in his first-round match on Tuesday even though he is suffering with a knee injury.


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