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Verdasco Meets Almagro In All-Spanish Houston Final

Houston, U.S.A.

Verdasco© Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCCFernando Verdasco will vie for the Houston title after defeating Santiago Giraldo on Saturday.

Fernando Verdasco advanced to his 19th final on the ATP World Tour following a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Santiago Giraldo on Saturday at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship. Verdasco will duel with countryman Nicolas Almagro, seeking to snap a six-match losing streak in finals since hoisting his fifth trophy on the clay of Barcelona in 2010.

The former World No. 7 became the first player since Marcel Granollers in 2008 to reach both the singles and doubles finals in Houston. “Both finals, I can't ask for anything more.” exclaimed Verdasco. "Now I'll try to recover and give my best this afternoon.”

With Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Marcel Granollers reaching the final in Casablanca, it marks the second all-Spanish final of the week.

The No. 4 seed overcame a 3-5 deficit in the second set in windy conditions on Saturday, reeling off four straight games for the victory in 91 minutes. Verdasco converted on five of six break points, sealing the match when Giraldo sent a backhand return long.

Giraldo was competing in his fifth ATP World Tour semi-final and second of the year after falling to Leonardo Mayer in Vina del Mar.

"I played three good matches (this week),” said the Colombian. “For my consistency, I need to be in these kinds of matches. I can do a lot better."

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Verdasco will square off with Almagro for the 10th time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. It will be theirVerdasco ninth meeting on clay, with Verdasco owning a 6-3 overall advantage. Their most recent encounter went to the Madrid native in Bastad last year. Following Saturday's semi-final, he was awarded the Langston Trophy (pictured right), presented annually for great sportsmanship during the tournament.

Almagro, last year's runner-up at River Oaks Country Club, will vie for his 13th title after receiving a semi-final walkover when 2010 finalist Sam Querrey withdrew due to a pinched nerve in his lower back. The Houston final will not feature an American for just the second time since 2000.

"He's really dangerous on clay,” Almagro said of Verdasco. “He's serving well. It will be a nice final. We are going to do our best."

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