Re: WWW: AO SF: Nadal vs Verdasco
The outcome of this match will be as much decided by Verdasco's psychological fortitude as it will by his shot selection. In terms of athleticism, he is on par with Nadal, as the question has never been one of physical limitations or a lack of innate talent, but rather his ability to temper his game in crucial moments.
Moreover, cheap service points come in handy against a player of Nadal's mold, which means that a good indicator of how this match is going would probably be the first-serve percentage of Verdasco, as well as points won on second serve. Brad Gilbert made an interesting observation during the Verdasco/Murray match: Verdasco seems to be content with spinning his 1st serve in -- or, perhaps more appropriately -- trepid about hitting second serves.
All in all, given the surface, conditions and respective forms, the match should be dictated, win or lose, by Verdasco -- as has been the case with all players that have come close or succeeded at beating the #1. It will be his job to initiate the first strike; it will be his job to unsettle Nadal by controlling every point; it will be his job to convert when given the opportunity to break.
Often times it seems to be the case that certain players are too willing to defer to Nadal, and of course, it's no surprise that such players have enjoyed very little success against him. Such a phenomenon is rather curious for the simple fact that Nadal ought not be in control of his own destiny on quicker surfaces in the latter stages of Grand Slams. The onus always rests on the shoulders of his opponents -- whether they know it or not.
Last edited by prima donna; 01-28-2009 at 12:22 PM.