Verdasco Edges Rublev to Reach Second Round at Paris Masters

by John on October 31, 2017

Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco edged 20-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6) in the opening round of the Rolex Paris Masters Tuesday afternoon. It was a battle of two baseline bashers and the only real difference was Verdasco’s acumen and skill in the tie-breaks. The win propels the 33-year-old Verdasco into a second-round clash with No. 12 seed and U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson. Rublev will move on to play in the inaugural NextGen ATP Finals in Milan next week. Verdasco displayed Rafael Nadal- like defensive skills in neutralizing the hard-hitting Rublev’s blistering ground game, while serving 11 aces and winning 70 percent of his first service points and 52 percent of his second. Rublev, for his part, had five aces and also won 70 percent of his first serves. The Russian captured 48 percent of the points on his second. Both players held serve with ease through the first five games of the match. Serving at 2-3, Verdasco saved two break points to hold, and at 4-5 erased a set point. Rublev saved a break point of his own at 5-5 and a tie-break ensued. Verdasco captured mini-breaks on the first, fourth and eighth points for a decisive 7-1 edge in the breaker to take the first set. Verdasco held twice and led 2-1 in the second set, when four straight breaks followed. Rublev saved two match points in the 12th game to force another tiebreaker. The Spaniard converted his fifth match point, ending the scintillating duel in one hour and 48 minutes. Verdasco hit 27 winners to 23 for Rublev, and had 37 unforced errors compared to 40 for the Russian. The Spaniard saved three of five break points and Rublev six of eight.

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