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Verdasco Captures First Hard Court Title Over Querrey

New Haven, U.S.A.

Fernando Verdasco© Getty ImagesFernando Verdasco claims the first hard court title of his career.

Second-seeded Fernando Verdasco earned his first ATP World Tour title of the season and the first of his career on hard courts as he defeated sixth-seeded Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6(6) in the Pilot Pen Tennis final on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Madrid native earlier in the day won his semi-final match indoors in two tie-breaks over seventh-seeded Igor Andreev. He then returned a little more than four hours to beat Querrey in a first-time meeting. Querrey also won his semi-final indoors over Jose Acasuso.

Verdasco went through the tournament without dropping a set. He enters the US Open with a 39-16 match record on the season, including a 22-6 mark on hard courts.
Verdasco took control of the match early by taking a double-break lead at 4-1 before Querrey broke for the first time. But the Spaniard served out the 32-minute opening set at 40-love with his second ace. In the second set, Verdasco held a 4-2 lead and had two break points for a double break but Querrey fought back to hold. He then broke the Spaniard in the next game for 4-4. Querrey took momentum of the match and held two set points on Verdasco's serve at 6-5, 15-40, but the Spaniard held. Querrey then led 6-3 in the tie-break but he couldn't put Verdasco away. At 6-5, he played a ball from Verdasco that would have gone wide to level the match. Instead Querrey decided to play the ball but he netted the forehand volley. He then double-faulted to give Verdasco match point. After a long rally Verdasco hit a backhand volley winner to clinch the one hour and 36-minute match.

"I think the second set was a little bit strange because I was 4-2 up, playing good," said Verdasco, "He was a little bit down in that moment. I was almost up 5-2 and serving.  But it was such a long game and he finally he won that game. He broke me in the next game. The match changed completely. He start playing much better; I start playing a little bit worse. I don't know how I turned it around again, with 6-3 down in the tie-break.  I was also a little bit lucky that I served two big serves. I won the two points from 6-3 to 6-5 only with my serve, and also the double-fault he made at 6-all. I think I was just a little bit lucky today.  Also not only now the final, the semifinals against Andreev, two tiebreaks.  I had a good day in the tie-breaks, and that's helped me so much to win the tournament."

Verdasco, who was a wild card entry, came into New Haven with a 9-14 tie-break record on the season. But he left winning all four he played during the week, including three on Saturday. He collected his third career ATP World Tour title and became the seventh different Spaniard to win on the ATP World Tour this season, joining Rafael Nadal (5), Tommy Robredo (2), Nicolas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Albert Montanes with one each.
Querrey, who won the Olympus US Open Series, was appearing in his fourth ATP World Tour final this summer. He compiled a 20-6 mark since July, reaching three straight ATP World Tour finals, in Newport (l. to Ram), Indianapolis (l. to Ginepri) and capturing the title in Los Angeles (d. Ball). He will enter next week’s US Open as the No. 2 American (behind No. 5 Roddick) on the ATP World Tour for the first time.

"I made the finals and played five matches," said Querrey, who is 2-4 lifetime in finals. "It's great preparation for the Open next week. Obviously I wanted to win the tournament. But I was still happy with the week and I can't complain too much about making the finals. I am still confident going into the US Open. I've had a lot of matches under my belt and I would have loved to have won tonight, but can't win them all."

The 21-year-old Californian was making his fifth ATP World Tour final showing of the season. He was runner-up in Auckland in January. He is one of five players to reach at least five ATP World Tour level finals this year, joining the Top 4 of Roger Federer (5), Andy Murray (6), Rafael Nadal (7) and Novak Djokovic (7). 

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