In a match that lasted over three hours, No. 15Â seed Fernando Verdasco finally put up something in the win column against Spanish compatriot Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open. Â After holding a two break lead in the final set, the World No. 2 Nadal lost the next five games giving Verdasco a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory to advance to the quarterfinals. It was Verdascoâ€™s first win over Nadal in 14 matches.
“After losing so many times against honestly the best player on clay ever, to beat him on clay is the maximum,” said a stunned Verdasco. “I don’t have words. I am happy for the win, although it is difficult to hold myself together now. I need to calm down, rest and get ready for the next match.”
“I never was in control of the match, I didn’t know how to win a point,” said a frustrated Nadal.Â “Movement is very important for me and I couldn’t move.”
“I couldn’t hit ball the way I wanted. I lost because I deserved to lose.”
Verdasco broke his opponentâ€™s serve seven times. Verdasco hit 31 winners and made 44 unforced errors versus Nadalâ€™s 19 winners and 39 unforced errors.
“I couldn’t close out the match at 5-2. He played better than me,” Nadal told media.
Nadal who has been very vocal about his dislike for Madrid’s blue clay courts and stated that if they remain he won’t play the tournament next year added, “The ATP and the tournament can do what they want, I tried my best, I’ve trained here since Thursday. I was as prepared as I could be.
“I was not good enough to adapt my game to this court. If things continue like this, it will be very sad.
“Next year this will be one less event for my calendar.”
Verdasco will meet Tomas Berdych in his quarterfinal match on Friday while Nadal will see action in next weekâ€™s Roma Masters.
After being dominated 6-1 in the first set by Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams found her focus and took control winning her round of 16 match at the Madrid Open 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“The first set was not me at all,” Williams told media. “I had a really slow start today. I don’t know why, I was just a little sluggish and mentally I was fighting some demons maybe. I hadn’t been playing like that and I wasn’t playing like that.
“I was just like, ‘I gotta do better than this.’”
Williams is now 10-0 in clay court matches for 2012. The win sets up a blockbuster quarterfinal on Friday against No. 2 Maria Sharapova who did not have to set foot on court to advance. Sharapovaâ€™s opponent Lucie Safarova withdrew due to a gastrointestinal illness.
Williams said of Sharapova: “She’s been playing really well andÂ has the upper hand going into tomorrow’s match with so much momentum in winning in Stuttgart. I’m going out there with nothing to lose and that’s always a good position to be in.”
Williams holds a 7-2 record against Sharapova.