Cincinnati – 3R
Two years ago, Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco made the longest match at the Australian Open, this time the left-handed Spaniards created the longest match in the history of the Cincinnati tournament, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in 3 hours 38 minutes in a sunny, mid-80s F (30-degree C) afternoon. Poor Verdasco, who’d lost to Nadal all previous encounters, could win both losing sets of their third round clash. He led 5:3 in the 1st tie-break and was two points away from winning the match five times in the final tie-break trailing 1:5 before! Nando prior to the tie-break had also a break up in the middle of the set, unfortunately he has one of the worst final set tie-break records (5-14), and made easy forehand mistakes every time being two points away, simply couldn’t deal with the pressure mentally. Nadal was far from his best tennis, he burned the tips of his two fingers on his right hand when he touched a hot plate at a restaurant. It’s his third all-tie-break match #, extends H2H with Verdasco to 12-0 (13-0 counting a Challenger match). “You enjoy always a good match,” the defeated Spaniard said. “But when you lose in this way, of course it’s not easy to lose. You have it so close. Tennis is like that.”
In the other very long match, Gilles Simon  battled past David Ferrer 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 in 3 hours 8 minutes, despite wasting five match points in the 2nd set. Simon led 3:1* in the final set, but ‘Pics’ broke back to lead 4:3. The Spaniard for the second time in career has lost match winning a match point-down set, previosuly it happened after identical scoreline (!) seven years ago to Todd Martin in Barcelona. It’s also interesting that Simon has won all three matches this week losing a tie-break set. He is the only quarter-finalist outside the Top 10 – it’s a contrary to the last week’s Montreal where Novak Djokovic made the quarter-finals as the only Top 5 player.
# Nadal’s all-tie-break matches:
2008, Chennai-SF: C.Moya 6-7(3), 7-6(8), 7-6(1) – 4 m.p.
2008, Queens Club-QF: I.Karlovic 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(4)
2011, Cincinnati-3R: F.Verdasco 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 7-6(9)
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