Rafael Nadal will be hoping to put his nightmare from Wimbledon behind him quickly after being comfortably beaten by Dustin Brown on Centre Court however the former world number one could not have asked for a worse opening round one match with his opponent fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco who has won their last two meetings and beat Rafa earlier this year in Miami.
The match in Miami was entertaining with both players at some point during the match playing very well or very badly. Both Fernando and Rafa play a similar style and will probably look to serve towards the backhands and will always look to play a forehand rather than a two handed backhand however recently for Nadal the forehand has been more of a weakness than a strength. I wrote about the Nadal forehand before Wimbledon which you can ready below…
With it being Nadal’s match since Wimbledon and his form this year then the eyes of the tennis world will be on this match next week.
After losing the match v Verdasco in Miami I suppose there is a bit more pressure on Nadal. At one point during their careers Nadal led the head to head 13-0 but it’s not 13-2 after wins for Verdasco this year in Miami and in Madrid in 2012.
A worry for Nadal is if Verdasco gets into an early rhythm on serve and dominates rallies on his serve then it will be difficult for Nadal to impose himself on the court as Verdasco as he did in Miami can push him back behind the baseline.
There were many times Nadal was a good 3 metres behind the baseline and struggling to trouble Verdasco especially in the first set. The danger with that is that it gives Fernando time to run around the backhand corner to play a forehand and was successful in going cross court and finishing with a volley at the night or catching Nadal off guard and going down the line.
During the second set of their meeting in Miami I was worried for Verdasco as he looked completely knackered and from 2-2 in the set lost four games in a row and even in the final set looked quite tired but managed to edge ahead to win four games in a row to take the final set. It was a pretty bizarre match and I wouldn’t be surprised if their meeting in Hamburg was similar, maybe even with a similar outcome?