Verdasco fights on
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:36
The seventh-seeded Spaniard, who is ranked 74 places higher than his Belgian opponent, was taken to three tie-breaks before eventually prevailing 7-6 (7/3) 6-7 (3/7) 7-6 (7/4) 6-4.
The pair had met just once before on the ATP Tour, with Vliegen winning the encounter at the 2006 Australian Open and the 27-year-old proved similarly competitive this time around as he aimed to get past the second round at Wimbledon for the first time.
Verdasco had the only break points of the opening set, three in game nine, but Vliegen survived the test and a tie-break soon followed.
It was the Spaniard who took control with several stunning forehands securing him a one-set lead after 48 minutes.
The second set was even closer, with no break points on offer, but this time it was Vliegen who seized the initiative in the tie-break, producing a winning crosscourt forehand on Verdasco’s serve to level the match.
The crowd had sat patiently through two intense sets already on a sweltering Court Two, and there was more to follow as again the players could not be separated in 12 games in set three.
The third tie-break initially looked to be going the way of Vliegen, who gained a 4-1 lead, but Verdasco fought back with a winning return and an ace before an error from the Belgian handed the set and the lead to his opponent.
A tie-break also appeared to be on the cards in the fourth set, as the players continued to produce a mixture of dazzling hits and poor forehands.
But after two hours and 55 minutes of tennis, the first break of serve went to Verdasco in game 10 when Vliegen, facing match point, powered a shot into the net to ensure Verdasco will face compatriot and 32nd seed Albert Montanes in the third round.