Raonic Defeats Verdasco Again

by John on February 17, 2011

It was deja vu all over again. For the second time in four days, Milos Raonic handed No. 9-ranked Fernando Verdasco a stunning defeat. Raonic edged Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) last night in the first round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis. Sunday, the 20-year-old Canadian upset Verdasco 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the final of the SAP Open in San Jose to win his first ATP Tour title. It was only the fourth time since 2000 that players who met in a final had come back the next week to play each other in the first round. Each time, the winner of the final had gone on to win the first round match. “It’s a different stadium and different conditions, so you never know if it will suit you or not,” said Raonic, obviously unfazed. “Fernando is a player who likes rhythm, especially early in a match, and I like to take than away. I think that’s my strength. There are some things I can improve on but I can’t be dissatisfied. Last week gave me a lot of confidence, and confidence makes all the little things go easier. I was happy with the outcome.” Both players needed one break each to split the first two sets. There were no breaks in the final set, but Verdasco, the No. 2 seed, did save three break points at 1-2. Raonic jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the tiebreaker, but the Spaniard rallied to draw even at 4-all. The 6-foot-5 Canadian got the decisive mini-break at 5-5 and served it out on his first match point. “He was luckier than me in the tiebreak. He hit the line at 5-5 with the return and then he had big options to win the match,” said Verdasco. “In San Jose he tried to make the points really quick, if I managed to return the serve he went to the net, like he did today a lot of times. Today it was tough to respond because he’s big and when he goes to the net you don’t really have a lot of space.” Like at San Jose, it was a lights out serving performance by each player. Raonic hit 16 aces and won 83 percent of his first service points (49 of 59). Verdasco had 12 aces and won 53 of 70 first serve points (76 percent). Raonic faces Radek Stepanek in a second-round match today.


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