By Lisa-Marie Burrows
Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome – The orange courts of Rome served up some high quality tennis this afternoon with two matches containing two same-country battles. Fernando Verdasco was vying to knock out another higher-ranked compatriot this week after his defeat over Spanish No.1 Rafael Nadal in Madrid, whilst on Court 1, another all-Spanish affair commenced between Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers, but it was Ferrer and Granollers who were victorious with a 6-3, 7-6 and 6-4, 6-4 win respectively.
In the Super Tennis Stadium, Ferrer and Verdasco opened up proceedings with Fernando Verdasco snatching the first break, which he could not sustain as unforced errors crept into his usually more reliable forehand and the scrambling and retrieval skills of David Ferrer proved to be fundamental.
As the Spanish No.2’s game improved, Verdasco’s didn’t and the frustration was evident to see as he muttered to himself and his team as he wandered around the court. This fragile mindset was to the advantage of Ferrer as he capitalized on the negativity and blew some explosive topspin forehands across court to seize further control before taking the first set on a tie-break.
The second set was a mirror image of the first, as Verdasco was the first Spaniard to break but could not consolidate his serve as Ferrer leveled up proceedings once again. This time Verdasco’s mentality held up as he did not appear as delicate, but his mood was temperamental throughout. Verdasco could not break Ferrer again and the set remained evenly balanced – until the outcome was decided in an all-important tie-break. Ferrer stormed to a 6-1 lead in the breaker and gained full control of the rallies after tightening up his game before securing the match.
For Fernando Verdasco it must be a disappointing loss after a great week in Rome and he was clearly frustrated on the court. There is a fine line between passion and frustration and often the Spaniard fuses the two, hopefully this is something he can improve on so his talents shine through at Roland Garros.
Meanwhile, on Court 1, Verdasco’s best buddy, Feliciano López was also embroiled in another battle in the second Spanish showdown of the day as he played his friend Marcel Granollers on a packed Court 1.
There were many distractions going on with Mamma Mia music blaring so loud at one point that the girls next to me started to sing along to and dance and there was a buzz all around as many matches were in progress on the outside courts.
Granollers broke López early on in the first set and the long-haired Spaniard could do very little to try and counteract and break down the aggressive play of Granollers as he hit the ball deep and pinned López back behind the baseline and away from his beloved net. Consequently, no serve and volley tactics were initiated today from López.
The second set saw Granollers’ confidence rise, as López’s shoulders and head slump. He fended off several break points against his serve during two service games, but he felt the strain and eventually a few unforced errors saw Granollers prevail 6-4, 6-4.
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