ao09nadal_verdasco

ao09nadal_verdasco

Points won by each set: | 45-51, 31-30, 49-45, 32-40, 36-26 |
Points won directly behind the serve:
30 % Nadal – 52 of 173
30 % Verdasco – 64 of 212

Amazing match, the longest in Melbourne since 1991 when Boris Becker defeated Omar Camporese 7-6, 7-6, 0-6, 4-6, 14-12 in the third round after 5 hours 11 minutes. The Spaniards played a 3-minute longer match. Nadal [1] was better than ever between April ’08 and May ’09 while Verdasco [15] experienced the best months of his life, being fresh from the Davis Cup triumph ’08 as he defeated Jose Acasuso in a clincher. Verdasco’s self-confidence was tremendous, he’d beaten in Melbourne two potential finalists Andy Murray & JW.Tsonga in back-to-back matches. I’m very curious what would have happened if Verdasco had won the tight 2nd set vs Rafa… Verdasco saved two mini-set points at 5-all in the opener, and 4 mini-set points at 3:4 in the 2nd; at 4:5 he was leading on serve 40/15… it seems a crucial moment of that encounter. They both were playing fantastic tennis off both wings from the back of the court, both also were serving slightly above their usual standards, because of that breaks were rarity. In the 5th set Verdasco did almost impossible thing surviving break points in three different games (at 0:1, 2:3 & 3:4), and then at 4-all it was 30/0 for him – six points away from the final. His forehand was working tremendously well, yet on that point he hit it with the frame of his racket – Nadal took seven points in a row to create a triple match point; Nando saved the first two with fine volleys, but committed a double fault trying to save the third one, just his fourth in the entire match (second in the last game). That fatal double fault separated them in terms of total points won in the entire contest! Eight years later, Nadal plays very similar semifinal in Melbourne and wins it against Grigor Dimitrov #

# Comparison of Nadal’s two epic Australian Open victories in the semifinals:
2009: Nadal d. Verdasco 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-7(1), 6-4… 5 hours 14 minutes… Nadal six pts away from defeat… total points: 193-192
2017: Nadal d. Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4… 4 hours 56 minutes… Nadal five pts away from defeat… total points: 186-179

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