For a moment it looked like the erratic play of Roger Federer late in the season would continue as he dropped the opening service game in his match against Fernando Verdasco at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Verdasco, who had never won a set against the world No. 1, finally did through steady play and solid serving to go up 6-4.
In the second set, Verdasco stayed right with Federer throughout. But Verdasco’s sloppy attempt at a smash overhead on the baseline that went awry gave Federer the opening he needed to take the second set 7-5.
After that it was all Federer as the wheels came off of Verdasco’s game while Federer’s forehand finally found its mark allowing Federer to seal the victory 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Tomorrow Rafael Nadal opens up against Robin Soderling while Novak Djokovic, the pre-tournament favorite, takes on Nikolay Davydenko. I actually like Soderling in the first match as recently Nadal has been very vulnerable indoors. Djokovic should win against Davydenko but will be interesting to see how much gas “Nole” has left after winning the last two events in a row.
By the way, kudos to the ATP for staging the ATP finale in London. The arena has been packed for each match and the play so far has lived up to the superstar billing. Hopefully this will finally allow the finals to be the “fifth slam” the ATP has dreamed of.