Rafael Nadal suffered a first round exit at the Australian Open at the hands of fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who recorded a stunning five-set win at the Melbourne Park. Verdasco saved a break point to prevent going 3-0 down in the decider, going on to win 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 3-6 7-6 (4-7), 6-2, reported BBC. This marked the third time Verdasco had beaten Nadal in 17 encounters, and became the second player to beat Nadal in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament. His win was seen as a revenge against Nadal who defeated him in their famous 2009 Australian Open semifinals match. But who really is Verdasco, aside from the man who beat Nadal?
Verdasco, full name Fernando Verdasco Carmona, was born in November 15, 1983 and began playing tennis when he was four years old, practising with his father on the two hard courts in the backyard of their family home. He had a full-time coach when he was eight and he turned professional in 2002, finishing as World No. 464. The Spanish professional tennis player?s career-high singles ranking is world no. 7, achieved in April 2009.
Verdasco has aided Spain in winning three Davis Cup titles, winning the deciding match in both 2008 and 2009, and was part of the winning team in 2011 as well. His best performance in a Grand Slam event was making the semifinals of the 2009 Australian Open, where he lost to compatriot and eventual champion Nadal in five sets. The match itself has been considered as one of the greatest Grand Slam semifinals of all time.
The Spanish netter has also reached the quarterfinals twice at the US Open, in 2009 and 2010, losing to Novak Djokovic and Nadal, respectively, with the latter winning the title. He reached the quarterfinal once at the Wimbledon Championships in 2013, where he led eventual champion Andy Murray two sets to love before he got defeated after five sets.
Meanwhile, Stuff.co.nz says Verdasco is facing questions about suspicious betting patterns surrounding his matches over the past five months. Analysts have noted that in four singles matches – one at the US Open last year – and two doubles matches, rapid swings of odds suggested heavy bets coming in against him.
However, Verdasco has denied any involvement in any match-fixing scandal when questioned about this. ?There is many things that they said about someone,? he replied, adding ?You know, at the end we know that all that is out there and we will fight to change that. But it is hard, no??
?At the end there is many people in this world, and is impossible to control everyone. But we are trying – if it was up to me, I would take out the betting. But I can’t. I don’t have that power. We are trying to fight against that. I cannot really say anything more. Like I said, it’s tough to control what everybody says.?
Verdasco was more direct on whether he had been approached by fixers, “No. Myself, no.”