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Verdasco Looking To Kick-Start Season In Madrid

Madrid, Spain

Verdasco© Mutua Madrid OpenFernando Verdasco is looking to find form in Madrid.

Spain’s Fernando Verdasco is hoping to ignite his season at the Mutua Madrid Open after dismissing David Goffin of Belgium 7-6(2), 6-2 on Sunday. The Madrid native had won only three matches in 2013 coming into Madrid, but cruised past Goffin in one hour and 34 minutes. He goes on to face either Milos Raonic or Nikolay Davydenko.

The 29-year-old Verdasco knocked out Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament last year and credited the extra motivation of playing at home as helping him in his preparations for this week. 

“What I focus on is trying to work as hard as possible,” said Verdasco. “The confidence comes back when you work harder than you normally do. If you normally push it up to 100 per cent, well, I have to push it to 200 per cent. That's the way it is when you're in a bad season.  It seems all the things are against you. 

“The fact of playing here in Madrid also helps; the extra motivation that Madrid was going to be my next tournament. Perhaps that made me train even harder, at a higher level. I think that I'm well prepared to at least be competitive this week.”

Spanish wild card Pablo Andujar claimed the first upset win of the tournament, knocking out No. 10 seed Marin Cilic 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and five minutes. The 92nd-ranked Andujar capitalised on four of his five break points while saving eight of the nine he faced to defeat the Croat.

Gilles Simon won an all-French first-round contest, battling past Julien Benneteau 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in just over two hours. The 16th seed improved to a 19-11 match record on the year, having reached three semi-finals in Rotterdam (l. to Benneteau), Marseille (l. to Tsonga) and Bucharest (l. to Rosol).

Frenchman Jeremy Chardy advanced with a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over Argentine Horacio Zeballos, who had won the clay-court title in Vina del Mar this past February with victory over Rafael Nadal in the final. Czech Radek Stepanek defeated another 2013 ATP World Tour titlist, Sydney champion Bernard Tomic, 6-3, 6-2.

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