Verdasco Stops Murray, Sets Delpo Date
Verdasco stopped a decade of struggles against Murray on Wednesday, as day turned to dusk on Arthur Ashe Stadium. He snatched their second-round encounter 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, marking his first win over the former World No. 1 since 2009.
Murray remains ahead by a commanding 13-2 margin in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, with Verdasco enduring his fair share of heartbreak over the years, but on this day the Madrid native refused to back down. He fired a total of 52 winners and was a serving machine in negating the Scot's world-class return game.
"Obviously it was difficult, because of the conditions," said Verdasco. "The heat, the humidity, the opponent, like how much everybody was talking about his return to a Grand Slam, his surgeries, how he is physically. At the end, there's too many things that you have to try to not think it over too much and just be focused on yourself, on your game, and try to do the best as you can out there.
"I was really positive the whole match. Obviously happy to go through because it was a super tough match for me against him, not being seeded. Like I said before the match two days ago, one of the toughest that you can play in first round or second round."
It had been six years since Verdasco last appeared in the third round in New York, but the two-time quarter-finalist is once again making a strong push in the Big Apple. He finally put Murray away after three hours and 23 minutes, denying five break chances in the final game as he battled the demons of eight straight defeats.
Verdasco will next face Juan Martin del Potro in a massive third-round meeting. The big-hitting Argentine is arguably the hottest player thus far at Flushing Meadows, dropping a mere seven games in a first-round victory over Donald Young and just 10 games in ousting Denis Kudla on Wednesday. The third-seeded Del Potro needed one hour and 56 minutes to dismiss Kudla 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(4), launching 20 aces.
With his blistering forehand cutting through the humid and heavy conditions, Del Potro has secured a combined 11 of 23 break chances through his opening two matches. The 2009 champion and last year's semi-finalist is poised to make another deep run at the hard-court Grand Slam.
"It's important to win in three sets, to keep my body in good shape," said Del Potro. "Now I've been doing recovery so I will be fine after tomorrow. I was doing a good preparation mentally to try to deal with this kind of forecast. And I did well.
"Fernando is a really good player. I don't like to play against a lefty because they can mix it up all the time. They play different angles of the game. They make variations all the time. It's not going to be easy for me."
In other action, 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals competitors Borna Coric and Daniil Medvedev opened Day 3 with efficient wins, setting a third-round encounter. Coric defeated Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-3, equalling his result from a year ago, while Medvedev continued his winning ways with 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Coric has won multiple matches in a tournament for the first time since lifting his first grass-court trophy at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle in June. Up to a career-high No. 20 in the ATP Rankings, he leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1. The Croatian claimed a four-set meeting in Milan and a 6-2, 6-3 decision just two weeks ago in Cincinnati.
Medvedev, meanwhile, extended his win streak to eight straight following his triumph at the Winston-Salem Open, benefitting from 64 unforced errors by Tsitsipas. The Russian is riding a wave of momentum, having taken 18 of his past 19 sets played.