Fernando Verdasco, just scored the biggest upset of his career, by knocking off the king of clay in a three set marathon match. Verdasco looked finished in the third set. Having split the first two sets with Nadal, he quickly fell behind to a 2-5 deficit. But in an uncharacteristic change of events, it was Verdasco who came roaring back against the mentally tough Nadal to win the last five games and record his first win over the world number two, in 14 tries.
Verdasco, will now face Tomas Berdych for a spot in the Madrid semi-finals. Berdych, has a clear edge in their head to head and even sports a respectable 2-all record against Verdasco on clay. This should be an interesting one.
Going back to Nadal for a minute, his early round loss doesn’t come as a surprise to me. He’s routinely expressed his dislike for the Madrid tournament. The high altitude and faster court speed doesn’t suit his preference.
Not all courts are going to work out perfectly for his playing style. He’s got to accept that. But with that said, I think Madrid has gone overboard with the changes they’ve made. It’s obvious the players, aren’t comfortable moving on the blue surface. Djokovic, said he won’t be coming back to play in Madrid, if they don’t reverse their decision.
Some people might call it whining but I feel it’s a legitimate complaint. The tennis courts are the workspace of a professional athlete. The last thing they want is for something to distract them from their job. Imagine if you were working in an office and your boss comes in to tell you that all of the company’s computers will be changed to an inefficient model that no one is familiar with. Wouldn’t it be really annoying to have to learn all of the new functions, while still being expected to maintain the same schedule? That’s what this reminds me of. An unfortunate change which is compromising the tournament’s credibility. Madrid, is already very different from the other clay court tournaments. The slippery surface is not an improvement.
I hope they will bring back the red stuff for next year. The ATP has stated that the blue clay was an experiment for 2012. It will be decided next year whether they’re going to keep it or not. Given the negative backlash against the change and potential boycotting I’d be surprised if they don’t turn it back to red.