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Verdasco poses final threat

Verdasco poses final threat
Image © Getty Images

The Duty Free Dubai Tennis Championships will feature world number one Andy Murray and former top-tenner Fernando Verdasco with the odds favouring the Briton who has only lost to the Spanish veteran once in 13 previous encounters.

Verdasco claimed his place in the final first

He has not seven lives, he has 700 lives. ThatŠ—Ès why heŠ—Ès No 1 in the world
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A former world No 7, Verdasco is making his first appearance in an ATP World Tour 500 Series hard court final his hoping to improve on his poor record against Murray.

"Andy is No 1 in the world Š—” what can I say about him?" the 33-year-old said when he learnt that his opponent for the title would be the Briton. He defeated Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6(5) 5-7 6-1. "I only beat him once. When we play tomorrow, hopefully, two.

"He was unbelievable yesterday in the quarter-final against Kohlschreiber, [saving] seven match points. Unbelievable, but you know how Andy is. He has not seven lives, he has 700 lives. ThatŠ—Ès why heŠ—Ès No 1 in the world.

"I respect him so much, but I will try my 100 per cent to win the tournament."

Murray showed no after-effects from his grueling victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber but he didnŠ—Èt have it all his own way during the opening set of his semi-final against Luca Pouille of France, who also survived a tough quarter final which didnŠ—Èt finish until 1.46 am Friday.

Murray tool an early lead but was hauled back by Pouille, the seventh seed, who took advantage of some weak serving from the top seed and favourite. However, Murray recovered to take the opening set in the12th game and then ran off with the second to clinch his place in the final after one-hour and 34-minutes, 7-5 6-1.

It is MurrayŠ—Ès second final in five attempts losing the 2012 edition to Roger Federer.

Reflecting on his week, Murray commented: "I think the first three matches here, I played pretty well. I donŠ—Èt think tonight was the best standard, really, but I played some good stuff this week.

"Obviously, you want to play your best tennis at the grand slams, but still, this is my third tournament [of the year], IŠ—Èm in my second final, which is good. It would be nice to pick up a win tomorrow, keep the momentum going into Indian Wells and Miami, which is a couple of tournaments where, especially Indian Wells, I really want to try to have a good run.

"ItŠ—Ès one of the Masters Series I havenŠ—Èt done well at over the years. Really want to make sure that I do well there this year."

His only immediate concern is Verdasco in SaturdayŠ—Ès final and he is expecting a tough match.

"I think where the balls are fairly heavy, here on a quick court, he can generate a lot of power, he can control the ball," the Scot said. "And when heŠ—Ès dictating the points, heŠ—Ès one of the best in the world at doing that.

"So obviously, I need to try to stop him from doing that, which means dictating a little bit more myself, getting up on the baseline and, yeah, hopefully, be a little bit sharper at the beginning compared with today."



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Nadal is unbeaten in Acapulco

Abierto Mexicano Telcel Day 4 - Nadal v Cilic

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Down in Mexico, Rafa Nadal and Sam Querry will spar off for the Mexican Open title.

Nadal, who hasnŠ—Èt lost in Acapulco winning the title in 2005 and 2013, will face a strong challenge from the big serving American who ousted Nick Kyrgios 3-6 6-1 7-5 while the Spaniard made light work of the third seeded Marin Cilic 6-1 6-2.

"I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I’m pleased with the performance," said Nadal. "I’m happy with my focus in important moments, saving break points with good shots," Nadal added. "I enjoyed the atmosphere here, so it’s great for me to be in the final."

The Spaniard wonŠ—Èt be underrating Querrey who arrived in the semis having ousted Belgian David Goffin, the fourth-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem and Kyrgios. "Sam is playing great, beating Goffin and Thiem. He’ll be coming into the match with a lot of confidence," said Nadal, who has won all four of his prior meetings with Querrey.

A victory would give the Spaniard his first hard court title since Qatar in 2014.






About The Author

Henry Wancke

Henry Wancke is one of the most respected Tennis writers in the UK. Henry is the Editor of both Tennis Threads Magazine and tennisthreads.net. He previously worked as Editor of Tennis World, Serve & Volley as well as Tennis Today magazines and been stringer for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Press Association. He also co-authored the Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Tennis with John Parsons published by Carlton, and the Federation Cup – the first 32 years, published by the ITF. Currently he is the Secretary of the Lawn Tennis Writers’ Association and Hon Vice President of the Tennis Industry Association UK.

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