One week after being routed by Rafael Nadal in the finals in Monte-Carlo, Fernando Verdasco was all smiles today. Verdasco prevailed over Robyn Soderling 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the finals of the Barcelona Open BancSabadell, an ATP 500 tournament, for his 5th and mightiest career title.
Following a love opening game, Soderling faced break point his second time out when Verdasco’s return clipped the net and dropped for a winner. Although Soderling held for 2-1, he was having difficulty getting free points on serve. A few games later, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Verdasco arrived at triple break point and cashed in when Soderling netted a forehand. Then, with a second serve ace, the Spaniard consolidated for 5-3. Next, with Soderling’s backhand down the line miscue, Verdasco had his fourth set point. The Spaniard sealed the first set with a forehand up the line winner.
By forcing mistakes from Verdasco, Soderling opened the second set with a break. However, with a couple of nonchalant forehand strokes, Soderling stared at break point. With a forehand up the line winner, Verdasco got back to 1 all. After Soderling netted an easy forehand to give Verdasco 30-40, a forehand initially deemed long was reversed. Soderling won the next three points to equalize the set at 3 all. Later, with an overhead winner, Soderling arrived at break point. With Verdasco dumping his backhand into the net, Soderling secured the break for 4-3. A couple of games down the road, at double set point, Soderling connected on a forehand volley winner to send the match into a third set.
After a comfortable hold by Verdasco, Soderling looked at 0-30. In part, thanks to Verdasco’s pass clipping the net and sailing long, Soderling eventually held for 1 all. Still, with two straight backhand errors his second time out, Soderling was again at 0-30. Subsequently, with another backhand error, Soderling stared at a double break point. Once again, with a net court going in his favor, Soderling put away a forehand volley to save the first break point. Yet, with a forehand crosscourt mistake, Soderling handed Verdasco the break for 3-1. By readily consolidating, Verdasco extended his advantage to 4-2. Despite Soderling holding easily, Verdasco never allowed him a bite on his service games. Thus, with Soderling netting a backhand return, Verdasco arrived at double championship point. As Soderling’s next shot, a backhand, traveled long, Verdasco captured the trophy. With this victory, Verdasco continues the Spaniards domination of this event with 10 successive wins since 2001.
The doubles team of Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor follow up their triumph in Monte-Carlo by defeating Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Knowles 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 in the finals for their fourth title this season.
With five time defending champion Nadal citing fatigue and opting not to aim for an historic sixth consecutive trophy for the second week in a row, the door was left wide open for the other contestants. Verdasco, the fifth seed and a wildcard entrant, made the most of his opportunity. Tested in the third round by Jurgen Melzer, after losing the first set, Verdasco took a tiebreaker to push the match to a third set. After coming through a tough quarterfinal versus Ernests Gulbis, countryman David Ferrer forced Verdasco to carry the last two sets after stealing the first in a tiebreaker. This represents Verdasco’s third career trophy on clay and his second title this year. The Spaniard defeated Andy Roddick in San Jose back in February.