Fernando's Milestone: Verdasco Earns Win No. 500
Spaniard Fernando Verdasco earned his first ATP World Tour victory in Sopot, Poland against Argentine Mariano Puerta in 2002. And nearly 16 years later, the dynamic left-hander celebrates history, lacing an inside-in forehand winner to defeat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-5, 6-4 at the Mutua Madrid Open, becoming the 45th player in ATP World Tour history to claim 500 match wins.
"It's an unbelievable victory," Verdasco told Tennis TV after the match. "Getting the 500th victory of my career is an unbelievable number that I never even thought about. I'm super-emotional and super-happy."
The one-hour, 24-minute minute victory on Tuesday makes Verdasco the sixth Spaniard to join the elite club, and he is also the ninth active player to achieve the milestone. The 34-year-old, who now has 120 triumphs at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, joins Frenchman Richard Gasquet (Monte-Carlo) as competitors to claim win No. 500 in 2018.
After the pair exchanged early breaks, the World No. 37 Verdasco grabbed the advantage with a second break at 5-5. And then after serving out the first set, he broke for a third time to open the second set, and never looked back from there, using his aggressive play from the baseline to win 81 per cent (35/43) of first-serve points in the victory.
In another potential milestone match, Italian No. 16 seed Fabio Fognini was denied the 300th match win of his career by Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. Having been broken in the first game, World No. 45 Mayer saved nine of 10 break points in a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 86 minutes. He also beat Fognini at the Argentina Open in February, and will face Verdasco in the second round. The Spaniard leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-0.
Cuevas, who reached the semi-finals in Madrid 12 months ago (l. to Thiem), saved the only break point he faced against Sock and dropped just two points on serve in the final set to secure victory. The World No. 47 will meet Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas for a spot in the third round.
Ramos-Vinolas, the 2017 Monte-Carlo finalist, recovered to defeat Delray Beach Open runner-up Peter Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours, 31 minutes. The left-handed 30-year-old broke the German at six of seven opportunities in the match to advance.
Stefanos Tsitsipas arrived in Madrid with plenty of momentum, reaching his maiden ATP World Tour final in Barcelona and the semi-finals last week in Estoril. But despite winning two fewer points in the match, Russian Evgeny Dosnkoy defeated the #NextGenATP Greek 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3).