Murray tie ‘special’ for Verdasco


Published: Monday 15th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Fernando Verdasco is at peace with his part in Andy Murray ending Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s singles Wimbledon champion in 2013 – but would still relish a “special” rematch on London soil at Queen’s.

The 31-year-old Madrid native fought off three match points to prevail over Roberto Bautista Agut at the Aegon Championships on Monday, booking a likely second-round clash with the Scot.

Two-time grand slam winner Murray will meet Taiwan qualifier Yen-hsun Lu in Tuesday’s first-round action at Queen’s, the top seed clear favourite to overwhelm the 31-year-old who grew up on a chicken farm.

Murray edged a five-set thriller with Verdasco in the 2013 quarter-finals, en route to that elusive Wimbledon crown. The Spaniard admitted to mixed memories of that defeat, but still hopes for another meeting.

“It’s hard enough to play against Andy Murray anywhere, whether in France or Spain, let alone England,” Verdasco told Press Association Sport.

“He’s one the best players in the world, he’s the top seed here, and he’s playing at home.

“Grass is a great surface for him, but it would be special for me to play him again in England, after that quarter-final at Wimbledon.

“I played a great match that day, and a great tournament, great tennis overall. I was feeling great, my level was very high and I had several chances.

“Of course I didn’t take them in the end, but it was a very close match.

“It’s sad memories in some ways because it’s a quarter-final at Wimbledon and I was so close to making the semi-finals, and you remember how close you came.

“But at the same time I know I tried my best, fought with everything and was part of what was a great match. And of course Andy went on and everyone knows what he did next.

“This match is completely different of course, and you always try to look to the present and the future, and not get stuck in the past.

“But it would be great to meet Andy again. He still needs to win his first-round match, of course.”

Murray lost out to Lu at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but the Dunblane-born star is without doubt a far more potent force these days, especially after his best-ever clay court season that included a run to the last four at Roland Garros.

The 28-year-old has declared himself in fine fettle ahead of Queen’s, and, after just one day and without gracing the courts, is already the last Briton in the draw.

James Ward, Britain’s Davis Cup hero when defeating John Isner in the April victory over the United States, was unable to progress beyond third seed Milos Raonic.

Ward stormed to the first set but was unable to sustain that pace, last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Raonic easing through 5-7 6-3 6-2.

The 24-year-old Canadian will now face Richard Gasquet in the second round after the Frenchman despatched Simone Bolelli 6-1 6-2.

Published: Monday 15th June 2015 by The News Editor

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