Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Djokovic defeats Verdasco

Novak Djokovic and Fernando Verdasco played a semi final in Doha only a couple of weeks ago, and Verdasco is still having nightmares over the five match points that flew past him in the second set and allowed Djokovic to escape his clutches, win the tie breaker, the final set and match, and eventually the title.

To have to draw the reigning and six time Aus Open champion again, and in the opening round in Melbourne was not the best of luck for the Spaniard, but it made for a potentially interesting night match on Rod Laver Arena as Day Two began to draw to a close.

Djokovic served first, and did so with clinical precision, helped in no small part by a wayward Verdasco.  All the Spanish mistakes were coming from the forehand, and this continued in the second game where the second seed took advantage of Fernando's faulty radar, forcing error if it hadn't already been self created, and broke easily for 2-0 lead.

The trend frustrated Verdasco who was unable to make inroads on the Djokovic serve, and after two attempts, still could not hold his own.

The fifth game, although won by Djokovic, did start to see a more competitive Verdasco, and the tennis overall improved.  Novak in this game was taken to deuce for the first time in the match.
Fernando received acclaim in the sixth game as he held serve.  It mattered nought in terms of the opening set, which Novak parcelled up 6-1, but it meant that Spain would be serving first when the second set began, and Verdasco was definitely creating more work now on each of the Serb serves.

Set two was a roller coaster, and it's outcome was never certain right until the end.  Verdasco caused Djokovic many problems, often forcing him into error, at times hitting outright winners, because he had found his range and was confident in contesting the rallies and out positioning his opponent.

After holding serve he broke the Djokovic serve to lead 2-0.  Novak broke straight back and was serving to level things when Verdasco hit a purple patch, some screaming winners setting up a break point and once more Djokovic fell behind, now 1-3.

A fourth successive break and a Djokovic hold and it was 3-3.

Verdasco played some wonderful survival tennis in both the ninth and eleventh games where he saved two and three break points respectively.  Djokovic won the twelfth game forcing a tie break, and had a 3-2 lead which he squandered, losing both points on his own serve.
They were the last points lost by Novak for the set as he both forced errors from the Spanish racquet through excellent shot making of his own, and benefitted from some poor execution from Verdasco.

A set to Djokovic 7-6 (4) which for most of the time he trailed and would be extremely relieved to have won.

Set three was a case of set one revisited, as the shackles were released from the second seed.  He was assisted by Verdasco suffering a major let down from the loss of the second set.  The service break was imminent, and came in the second game.  Djokovic led 2-0, maintained that break throughout, and finally broke Verdasco again to win the match 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2.

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